The United Nations launched a programme this week to help nine developing countries – among them three African states, Zambia, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo – to establish systems to monitor, assess and report their forest cover. The programme could lay the foundation for a system whereby poor countries could earn tradable carbon credits for protecting their forests. Indonesia, for example, has the potential to be compensated $1-billion a year for reducing its rate of deforestation, the UN estimates.
Deforestation accounts for 20 percent of global carbon emissions, say scientists. If the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Programme, or UN-REDD, were to be incorporated into a post-Kyoto climate deal it would be a way rich countries would pay poor ones to slow climate change. Other countries in the programme are Bolivia, Indonesia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay and Viet Nam.