Working Paper

Carbon Credits for Avoided Deforestation

Oct 31, 2007 | Roger A. Sedjo, Brent L. Sohngen


Several important issues need to be addressed to make avoided deforestation (AD) a feasible option for climate change policy. Traditional questions associated with land-based sequestration options have largely been discussed in terms of project-based approaches to carbon sequestration. For country-level commitments these concepts remain important, but we argue in this paper that they can and should be addressed differently. In order to address AD, it is useful to begin by outlining the international climate control regimes under which AD could be included as an option. Two general alternatives are discussed: an arrangement that is a linear extension of the current Kyoto Protocol but that involves more countries with specific emission reduction targets, and an alternative expanded arrangement that requires that essentially all countries have greenhouse gas emission targets. We consider how AD would fit into these two general types of international agreements and address questions related to baselines, additionality, permanence, and leakage. We conclude that the key issues related to includingdeforestation in either of these arrangements revolve around measuring, monitoring (e.g., additionality), and the development of efficient incentives by countries to alter their land-use regimes.