Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is deforestation necessary for economic development?
In Brazil, unlike what was presupposed, the data shows a detachment between the agricultural output increase and high deforestation rates in the Amazon region over the past 10 years. Such detachment demonstrates that it is possible to reconcile deforestation reduction and regional economic development.
Source: MMA, with data by INPE/PRODES and Ipea/Ipeadata. Note: In blue, deforestation; in red, agricultural GDP in Northern Brazil. The deforestation rate for 2013 is an estimate. The available data on agricultural production run up to 2010. Nationally, the this detachment is also clear. Brazilian GDP has grown through the years of lower deforestation rate:
Source: INPE/PRODES. Note: In red, deforestation in the Amazon before PPCDAm; in green, deforestation in the Amazon after PPCDAm; in black, Brazilian GDP. A research conducted at the University os São Paulo, based on the Forest Transition Theory, indicates that deforestation is not a prerequisite for development. The study, by the economist Thiago Fonseca, demonstrates that the development process is a more qualitative than quantitative one and that the developed countries have suffered intense deforestation processes in a pre-capitalist stage.
2. Who are the biggest greenhouse gas emitters? What is the profile of their emissions? Historically, the Industrial Revolution, in the 19th Century, led to an upturn in greenhouse gas emission. By this token, the first industrialized nations were and are responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions to date. The United States of America (USA) leads the ranking of the main historic emitters worldwide, followed by some countries in the European Union. These countries historic greenhouse gas emissions contribution is closely related due to their high level of dependency on fossil fuels. Developing countries - notably emerging economies, such as China, India and Brazil- became significant emitters in the last decades. Generally, most of their greenhouse gas emissions are related to land use changes. However, the historic and per capita emissions of developing countries are still well below the ones of developed nations.
3. What is the Brazilian emission profile? In spite of Brazil’s big population and notable industrial development, its energy mix is considered to be clean. Most of Brazilian emissions are related to the land use change. In October 2010, the Second National GHG Inventory was released as part of the Second National communication from Brazil to the UNFCCC. According to the report, between 1990 and 2005, Brazilian emissions increased from almost 1.4 billion of carbon tons to 2.2 billion. The last data indicates that the land use change sector was responsible for 61% of Brazilian emissions, agriculture for 19%, energy for 15%, industry for 3% and waste treatment for 2%.
4. Which are the advantages and opportunities of REDD+? REDD+ represents an alternative to the traditional development model. It creates an opportunity for developing countries to reach a sustainable economic model, based on forest conservation. In addition, the innovative concept of economic incentives based on REDD+ results creates a new paradigm to investments in developing countries, quite different from the traditional Official Development Assistance model (ODA).
5. Which are the risks of REDD+? Some of the risks related to REDD+ include: ● Deforestation and emission displacement from a certain area or country where REDD+ policies and incentives exist to another where they do not. ● Harassment of indigenous peoples and local communities to promote pilot projects based on misconceptions and methodological or judicial bottlenecks. ● Uncertainty about the permanence of carbon stocks over time. These and other risks can be addressed by the implementation of the REDD+ safeguards.
6. Do REDD+ projects exist? There is no such thing as a project approach under the UNFCCC. The Warsaw Framework for REDD+ (COP 19, 2013) establishes the international architecture for REDD+ and reiterates the understanding, already established in Cancún (COP 16, 2010), that REDD+ implementation should be national or, as an interim measure, subnational. Results should be presented by a national entity or focal point for evaluation by UNFCCC experts. Payments for national REDD+ results will be made to the national entity/focal point or to those agencies that this entity may choose to appoint. The allocation of such resources will follow the National REDD+ Strategy guidelines. Such approach enhances the integrity of REDD+ results and encourages the governments to design large-scale initiatives. There are self-proclaimed REDD+ projects, which are volunteer. These projects usually follow their own certifications, methodologies and models and are not recognized under the UNFCCC.
7. Is there a national REDD+ program? The Brazilian National Strategy for REDD+ is under elaboration. Since 2010, the Ministry of the Environment leads this process, that involved the participation of stakeholders from civil society, the private sector and state governments.
8. What is it and how the Fundo Amazônia (Amazon Fund) works? The Amazon Fund is the first official REDD+ pilot Fund. The original proposal was presented by the Brazilian Government in 2007, during COP 13, in Bali, Indonesia. The Amazon Fund is not part of the national budget and it is managed by the BNDES (Brazilian Development Bank). The fund is intended to raise donations to non-refundable investments in deforestation prevention, monitoring and control and promoting forest conservation and sustainable use in the Amazon biome. The first major donation came from the Government of Norway, which contributed with about US$ 1 billion up to 2015. The payments should be proportional to and based on the Brazilian performance in reducing emissions from deforestation in the Amazon.
9. REDD+ and Payment for Environmental Services (PES) are the same thing? REDD+ is a payment for results already achieved, which makes it similar to mechanisms of payments for environmental services (PES). Resources are transferred to developing countries based on a performance measured against pre-defined indicators. The transfer of funds is made a posteriori, not in expectation. In the case of REDD+, payments are made for mitigation results, measured in tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) measured against a pre-defined reference (forest reference emissions level of or forest reference level). Learn more about the forest reference emission levels The main difference between REDD+ and PES is that the latter includes payments beyond carbon, related to, inter alia, water resources, biodiversity etc. Moreover, in the case of REDD+, payments are made from country to country, or institutions to country, for a result verified under the UNFCCC.
We live in a market economy, in which 25 million Brazilians depend on forest resources for their livelihoods. Brazil has already developed some Payment for Environmental Services schemes, promoted by the federal government, state governments and civil society organizations. Bolsa Verde (Green Grant) Program, for example, offers grants to families in extreme poverty that help in the conservation of the forestes they live in. There are also successful projects as the National Water Agency’s Water Producer Program (webpage in Portuguese), the Program pays landholders that restore Areas of Permanent Protection around springs and protect waterways.
10. The payments for REDD+ results generate offsets or credits of any sort? Financing climate mitigation in developing countries, including through REDD+ payments, is part of the financial obligations that developed countries have under the UNFCCC, due to their historical responsibilities and GHG emissions. The possibility of REDD+ results-based payments being used for mitigation compliance by developed countries (offsetting) remains a controversial topic. This discussion has been re-directed to a larger forum dedicated market mechanism, and it is no longer a topic under discussion by REDD+ negotiators. Some developed countries would like to have access to offsets/carbon credits in large quantities at relatively low prices. Considering the amount of emission reductions achieved by Brazil over the past 10 years, over 3Gt of CO2, the potential for generating credits would be considerable. Brazil, along with several developing countries and civil society organizations, maintains a firm stance in arguing that REDD+ should not be used as an offset. The goal is to maintain the environmental integrity of the UNFCCC regime and ensure that developed countries contribute with efforts to mitigate climate change by reducing their own emissions of greenhouse gases. REDD+ can be used by developed countries as part of their climate related financial commitment to mobilize $100 billion per year, but not to fulfill their commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The Warsaw Framework for REDD+ postponed the discussion on offseting, allowing REDD+ implementaion to move forward. Eventual REDD+ related market approaches will be a matter to be determined in negotiations on new market mechanisms under the UNFCCC, to be implemented after 2020.