A new White Paper published by IETA warns that REDD+ results generated through Article 5 of the Paris Agreement, but marketed as carbon credits, may negatively affect the reputation of credits that are generated following agreed international procedures.
A number of countries have announced that they intend to generate units known as REDD+ Results Units (RRUs), issued through the REDD.plus platform created by the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN).
REDD stands for “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation”, while the “plus” refers to the additional activities of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
RRUs are linked to emission reductions reported by countries to the UNFCCC’s REDD+ Info Hub, a system set up under the Warsaw Framework for REDD+ and which is referred to in Article 5 of the Paris Agreement. IETA’s paper emphasises that “RRUs are not verified carbon credits that meet foundational thresholds that assure integrity and fungibility in markets.”
“IETA’s current position is that results reported on the UNFCCC REDD+ Info Hub, including RRUs, are not market grade and should not be treated as fungible carbon credits in the market,” the paper adds.
Article 5 of the Paris Agreement encourages countries to take action to conserve and enhance carbon sinks including forest cover, and refers to “results-based payments”, but IETA’s paper underlines that “the results reported on the REDD+ Info Hub are not verified carbon credits that can be transacted in global carbon markets.”
Both IETA and the International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Accreditation (ICROA) support and encourage the deployment of international finance for forest protection, including for countries that have preserved vast amounts of intact forest and historically kept low levels of deforestation.
“IETA and ICROA wish to express their deep concern about the use of any issued units that do not comply with a recognised standard designed for market purposes,” the paper concludes, recommending that in order to scale climate investment through market mechanisms, “it will be essential to comply with market grade standards” such as those being established by Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and by existing programmes in the voluntary market.