In December 2011 at the international climate change negotiations at COP17 in Durban, there were further developments on the proposed REDD+ mechanism to reduce forest-based emissions and enhance forest carbon sinks. Various countries have initiated forest-related emission reduction and offsetting schemes within the last year. This policy brief provides an update on national and international REDD+ and other forest carbon policies from April 2011 to January 2012. The brief presents the following updates on international schemes and proposals on REDD+ within the stated time frame:

the Kyoto Protocol set emissions reduction targets for about 30 developed countries and all countries at the Durban summit agreed to reduce their emissions by 2015
the final decision regarding safeguards stipulated that countries with forests should report on how safeguards are being addressed
meetings were held to discuss finance, MRV, safeguards and the work programme.

On Asia-relevant national schemes, the briefing presents the following updates:

China launched a pilot forest carbon trading programme
South Korea announced voluntary emissions cut
Japan tested the feasibility of a Bilateral Carbon Offset Mechanism
in India, Maharashtra State created a tree credits scheme
the Governors’ Climate and Forests task force carried on with the sub-national REDD+ framework, financing, knowledge database, and communications, outreach and stakeholder involvement
California formally adopted the greenhouse cap and-trade programme.

On national and subnational schemes outside Asia, the brief shows the following developments:

the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme increased levels of tree planting and enabled the forest sector to engage in national and international carbon markets
Quebec in Canada will adopt a cap and trade system for reducing emissions
the Australian government approved the Carbon Farming Initiative
some U.S. states and Canadian provinces formed the North America 2050 Initiative
UK launched the Woodland Carbon Code
Brazil changed the forestry code
Ecuador launched the Yasuni initiative
the Norwegian government financed forest carbon payments into the Guyana REDD Investment Fund
Mexico signed a MoU with Indonesia on sustainable forest management and enforcing REDD+ policy as well as several other forestry issues.

The brief ends by reporting that over the last year, the global voluntary market standards saw a growth in approved methodologies, project types covered, registered projects and issuance of verified credits.

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