Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program

Environmental and Urban Studies

Project Advisor 1

Monique Segarra

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) has recently emerged as a policy response to address deforestation and climate change. REDD+ uses a market mechanism to compensate reforestation and afforestation activities in forest-rich nations by linking these activities to emissions reduction commitments in industrialized nations. In the absence of an international treaty to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and thereby coordinate the market functions of REDD+, a variety of voluntary demonstration activities and pilot projects have taken off. One such program is the evolving relationship between Chiapas, Mexico and California, USA that began in November, 2010. Little research has been done to date on the role of non-state actors in the formation of REDD+ projects. First, using the theoretical frameworks of regime construction, transnational politics, and political ecology, this paper aims to shed light on why this unexpected relationship formed, how it is playing out, and what lessons it can impart for future REDD+ and climate policy. Second, using a review of primary and secondary literature, this project synthesizes critiques of REDD+ that mirror the reality playing out between Chiapas and California. As exemplified by the California-Chiapas case, subnational REDD+ are heavily influenced by non-governmental actors. Furthermore, lessons from pilot programs are not necessarily being captured and transmitted to policy crafters. In spite of pockets of resistance, REDD+, as exemplified by the California-Chiapas case, is setting an alarming precedent for market-oriented forest governance that contributes to an increasingly globalized conception of carbon sources and sinks.

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