Fidelis E Satriastanti
What’s in a name? Well, for REDD, apparently everything. When I write about REDD, I get lots of crinkled foreheads, odd looks from editors as well as the look of “what on earth is REDD?” How do you define REDD? What kind of animal is a REDD?
I’ve heard it from officials, NGOs, scientists, experts and senior journalists, and yet I’m still confused. Well, in my defense, being confused is allowed because there is no legal meaning or strict definition of REDD (yet). But it has been the “it” thing in the rounds of environmental discussions. So, I’d like to offer out some easy definitions to introduce what REDD is. It will help me in the process of writing in the future, and is my version of “REDD for Dummies.”
1. What does REDD stand for?
REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. It was not initially a program unto itself when it was coined at the UN conference on climate change. It’s basically an acronym from some paragraph on the literature of forest protection.
2. How does REDD work?
So, if you reduce greenhouse gas emissions by either stopping deforestation or degradation, you’ll get credits. These credits then are sold into the carbon market to compensate you for the efforts.
3. How do you do REDD?
It’s as simple as this: Keep the forests intact and you’ll be compensated.
4. Are there any side effects from REDD?
a. Too many organizations or institutions are handling REDD (they have transformed it into different names, and even I have lost track of them).
b. There are too many policies on REDD (we have ministerial regulations from different departments).
c. Too many NGOs are talking about REDD.
d. Journalists have gotten carried away writing about REDD (I know I did).
e. Scientists provide too much technical data (although their arguments is that it’s not supposed to be simplified).
f. At the end of the day, the question “What is REDD?” still stands.
However, these are my thoughts about REDD:
a. REDD is about forest conservation.
b. REDD has too many complicated politic dynamics as it involves global production. That’s also why the UN has not officially defined it yet. c. REDD is about the political economy. We are talking about a new market in carbon trading, which will become a challenge for the world. So this begs the question: How on earth do you sell carbon? Do they put a price tag on carbon?
So, from my humble years of writing about REDD, I can only come up with three thoughts. It will grow larger and more interesting in the future, while growing more complicated too.
A professor once asked me about my perspective on REDD. My answer was it had opened up a Pandora’s box of forest related issues in Indonesia. One in particular is indigenous people who still hold firm to their statement: No Right, No REDD.
As for me, I’m pretty much grateful to be able to write down the facts without confusing the readers.