climate change conservation development

The value of a standing tree

Following the annual UN climate talks can be a depressing business, but one aspect of international climate action has got off to a more positive start: REDD. That’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, a programme that seeks to put a financial value on standing trees.

Deforestation is a major source of carbon emissions. If they cannot be curbed, then good work in the areas of energy and transport will fail to prevent serious climate change. The problem is that a tree isn’t worth anything, financially speaking, until you cut it down and turn it into timber. For poor communities in forest areas, there is every incentive to cut the trees down, and no incentive to leave them where they are.

The REDD programme aims to change that, and the nice thing about it is that it lowers emissions while delivering clear financial benefits to forest communities.  I could attempt to explain it all, but you’ll get a better picture from an example. Here’s a video from Wildlife Works, whose projects conserve the forest and lower emissions, while creating jobs and driving development.

PS – In the video you may have seen the factory making organic cotton clothing. You can shop online here. I was wearing one of their shirts yesterday.

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