REDD+: The movement towards voluntary markets, and sub-national action.
The heavy interest in REDD+ projects is palpable here in Cancun. What is not so evident is that the compliance markets are going to be ready to move the REDD+ agenda forward. Even if an agreement comes out of this COP, it will effectively be authorizing the technical working groups to begin work on the REDD+ protocols and methodologies for national level REDD. I repeat, to BEGIN work. That leaves the non-UN markets to lead the way and pioneer the path forward for REDD+.
Timed to coincide with the COP meetings, the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), has approved two distinct methodologies for use in the market, and the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) of California has formally begun the process to include REDD+ from the States of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo in Mexico. So the voluntary carbon market is releasing REDD+ project methodologies for use around the world, and CAR is beginning to formally push sub-national action for the California compliance cap and trade market. The development of these two tracks is vitally important for REDD+. It formally opens a path to market for actions that have been contemplated, or are currently being worked on, in the field to access the market, NOW. It also demonstrates the interest of the marketplace for REDD+ credits – and that the world has moved on.
There is a bit of a feeling like the UN process is already behind the Voluntary Market and the regional compliance carbon markets with respect to REDD+. This may not be true forever, but there is certainly a window for the next few years when the voluntary market and the CAR market will dominate the action on the ground. I hope that the UNFCCC process will embrace the work done in those markets and learn from them for the CDM – and not decide to reinvent the wheel.
In the short term, I look forward to implementing some REDD+ projects – under the newly validated VCS methodologies or in Mexico under CAR!