Commonwealth Secretariat Discussion Paper

The Discussion Paper series raises awareness of topics that are of importance to Commonwealth work programmes. Discussion Papers explore an issue relating to research or programme activities and provoke debate on it. The intended readership is researchers and policy advisers.


Forest Carbon Finance

Potential and Challenges for Commonwealth Countries

Deforestation contributes about one-fifth of all human-made emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas that leads to global warming and climate change. Preventing deforestation could therefore be highly significant in averting climate change. Recently there have been strong moves to include the reduction of CO2 emissions from deforestation and forest degradation within international frameworks for action on climate change. In general, deforestation and degradation are the result of a combination of market, policy and governance failures, which make it more profitable to fell trees rather than to keep them. This paper provides an overview of these issues and discusses a range of carbon finance issues that are being considered to address the problem of deforestation and forest degradation. In particular, the paper considers the role of forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation, and how ‘forest carbon finance’ can contribute to sustainable forest management. The paper also considers the state of Commonwealth forests; and identifies some key questions to consider when drawing up national programmes.


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