Carbon Politics

Project: Research

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Description

Deforestation and degradation of forests in the tropics is depicted as a major source of emissions of CO2. It is estimated that between 12 and 20 percent of total world emissions of CO2 come from deforestation. REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is seen as one of the tools that can help to ensure more effective forest conservation and reduce the proportion of CO2 emissions. The REDD program was launched in 2009 by the UN and is part of the Copenhagen Accord (COP-15). REDD funds is proposed to create economic incentives for developing countries to maintain and strengthen the management of their forests and thus help lower global emissions of CO2. Under this initiative, developing countries can refrain from deforestation and be credited for the amounts of CO2 that are left untouched. These credits can then be sold to industrialized countries that need to reduce emissions to meet their own targets.
This project examines the paradoxical outcomes of the global and local negotiations over the value of forests and investigates the mechanisms behind the implementation of REDD as a specific value scheme. Our main assumption is that when REDD initiatives and discourses of carbon trade are attempted implemented on the ground these global discourses will combine with local terms and practices producing unexpected effects or ‘friction’. Critics argue that REDD policies can be manipulated and threaten to generate land grabs, displacement, conflicts, corruption and impoverishment. REDD seems riddled with conflicts of interest. These can make the initiative very difficult to regulate without a combined understanding of the various interests at stake, and the relationships of power in which they are embedded. This leads to the following research questions:
1. Who are the stakeholders in relation to forestland, and what are their interests?
2. How is ‘carbon’ (CO2) interpreted in the diverse settings and by the different stakeholders, when it becomes objectified as a resource?
3. What are the consequences for appropriations and definitions of ownership (over land, nature etc.) that results from the introduction of REDD?
4. And how do different stakeholders in REDD attempt to obtain control over the definition of values and the process of implementing REDD?
The project is based on case studies that are currently taking place in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea respectively (REDD targeted regions). These cases investigate how the REDD initiative and its consequences are interpreted at different levels of society from government, environmental NGOs and industry (plantations and logging) to local forest-dependent groups.
This project is funded by The Aarhus University Research Foundation under the AU IDEAS research program (AUFF Project Development).
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date01/01/201201/01/2014

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ID: 128942746