UNDERSTANDING REDD…. Following up on yesterday’s post, tropical deforestation accounts for 20 percent of all carbon emissions into the atmosphere, more than the combined emissions of every car, truck, ship, plane and train on the planet. A new market mechanism, REDD — Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation — is being developed so that residents of tropical forest properties can earn more money from the standing forest than from its removal.


The REDD concept is part of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill, which would allow U.S. companies to offset the carbon they emit by paying tropical countries and their citizens not to cut down their rainforests. A market-based system that includes REDD will also be on the agenda at the UN-sponsored talks in Copenhagen this December, where representatives hope to hash out a new climate change treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

The Washington Monthly published a special section in the July/August issue, “A Clear Cut Crisis.” Yesterday, the New America Foundation co-hosted an event with the Monthly on this idea.

The report and the video from Friday’s event are online here.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.