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Establishing Efficient, Equitable, and Environmentally Sound Reference Emissions Levels for REDD+: A Stock-Flow Approach

Bronson Griscom; Rane Cortez

A “stock-flow” approach to reference emissions levels for REDD+ is a simple and workable option for establishing environmentally sound, efficient, and equitable incentives to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. It meets the needs of a broad set of Parties and therefore might be broadly acceptable in UNFCCC negotiations on reference levels. Further, the “stock-flow” approach offers a structured path for negotiations that avoids political gaming at the expense of environmental integrity. Countries that reduce their flow of emissions from deforestation and degradation below a historical reference emissions level would be eligible for payments as part of the results-based (or “third”) phase of REDD+. This might include market, market-linked, and non-market sources. A portion of payments for emissions reductions would be put into a “stabilization fund” that would re-allocate payments to countries based on forest carbon stocks. This approach would provide balanced incentive payments to conserve forests in both historically high- and low-deforestation countries, while maintaining a level of environmental integrity necessary for progress towards global REDD+ goals.