US Federal Government bets on REDD

Barack Obama has said that US Federal Government supports projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). His administration has pledged $1 billion to REDD+ efforts in recognition of the fact that as much as 80% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from the land use sector in some developing countries.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will offer a new-risk sharing loan guarantee to enable the Althelia Climate Fund to lend up to $133.8 million in commercial financing for forest conservation and sustainable land use projects in developing countries.

But the Obama administration, through USAID, had already invested time and resources in supporting REDD+ projects. The agency previously developed the BioREDD+ program in Colombia, which started in 2011 and will run through 2014. Through the program, $27.8 million will be invested in biodiversity, REDD, and climate change adaptation, with eight REDD+ projects totaling more than 700,000 hectares being developed in the Colombian Pacific Coast to be validated under the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance.

These REDD+ projects have emission reduction potential of more than two million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year from avoided deforestation and degradation, as well as regeneration of forests, according to USAID. They also offer biodiversity benefits via protection of the Chocó Biogeographic Region and the REDD+ investments will support the protection of species listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered.