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March 15, 2009
A new TFG paper explores the range of private sector financial tools to conserve tropical forests. These forest-saving ideas include innovations in voluntary and pre-compliance carbon credits, forest bonds, ecosystem service licenses, and proposals by the Prince Charles’ Rainforests Project and the Terrestrial Carbon Group. This paper, commissioned by WWF US and presented at a Harvard University summit on International Financial Systems, has 4 specific ideas to mobilize private capital to conserve tropical forests:
  1. Internationally, creation of new international forest carbon credits linked to meaningful demand. The paper introduces the concept of de-linking CO2 and C values initially to allow REDD rules to evolve while leaving the politically more difficult question of the relationship between REDD C values and CO2e values to a later date.
  2. In developing countries, development of REDD National Authorities (RNAs) to serve as the key link on the issue of REDD between developing countries and the outside world. RNAs would develop national decisions on issues such as: domestic REDD rules; nesting sub-national projects in national systems; promulgation of forest carbon laws, rights and policies; technical development of baselines, monitoring, etc.
  3. In developed countries, government-backed guarantees for international forest carbon. These guarantees would provide assurances so private investors would start investing in forest conservation programs in developing countries.
  4. “Early action” or “baseline protection” language in any cap and trade legislation (international or national) to reward early investments in conserving tropical forests. The paper concludes “early action” language is preferred but may be politically more difficult than “baseline protection” language.