In the most recent issue of Environmental Science & Technology we have published an analysis of the net effect of climate policy on the incentives for tropical deforestation, looking at the opposing effects of REDD and increased bioenergy demand - Preserving the world's tropical forests - a price on carbon may not do.
While a REDD scheme will offer an incentive for forest conservation, climate policy in the form of a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system will also augment the profitability of biomass plantations through an increased demand for carbon neutral energy sources. This, in turn, would raise the value of land, making preservation more difficult and emission reductions from reduced tropical deforestation more costly than currently assumed.
Here we analyze the land competition between bioenergy plantations and forest conservation, finding that deforesting for high-yielding bioenergy systems, like palm oil, is likely to remain highly profitable in the future, even in the face of a price on the carbon emissions from forest clearing. Current efforts to include carbon emissions from tropical deforestation in a future international climate regime, while a step in the right direction, may therefore not suffice as protection for the world's tropical forests – additional, and stronger, protection measures which value more aspects than solely carbon retention, will still be needed.
The article is available for download at
For those who lack access to ES&T, 50 free copies of the paper can downloaded from
Any reactions, comments and questions on this analysis are most welcome.-
PhD in Energy & Environment
Physical Resource Theory
Department of Energy & Environment
Chalmers University of Technology
412 96 Göteborg, SWEDEN
ph: ++46 31 772 34 53
fax: ++46 31 772 31 50
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Councillor Andrew Boswell
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