Last week, the President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, flew to Paris in a hired Boeing 787 Dreamliner, one of the most luxurious planes in the world. Le Figaro estimates that a one-way flight from Brazzaville to Paris would cost about US$500,000. Needless to say, Sassou Nguesso’s wife, Antoinette, travelled with him.
Lauren Gifford, PhD is a human-environment geographer who has studied REDD+, climate policy and forest conservation in the Amazon and beyond since 2007. She submitted this guest post looking at the implications of the fires in the Amazon rainforest for REDD.
So far this year, more than 72,000 forest fires have started (or been set by cattle ranchers) in Brazil’s rain forest. That’s an 80% increase over the same period last year. But the amount of CO2 emitted from the fires is lower than in 2010 and significantly lower than in the early 2000s.
Norway and Brazil are currently negotiating the future of the Climate and Forest Agreement between the two countries. In a press statement, the Norwegian government claims that, “From Norway’s point of view, the Amazon Fund has worked well until now.”
How do we know whether or not a REDD project is actually reducing deforestation and forest degradation? Satellite data is one increasingly popular answer. Computers can be trained to use the data to detect deforestation and changes in land use and plot the information on easy to read maps.