Abstract: Approaches to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) occupy a prime place among political proposals for mitigating climate change. This paper maps interconnections among four crucial dynamics associated with forestry and climate change that interface with REDD proposals: changes in agricultural needs, energy transitions, dynamics of communicating climate change at different levels and scales, and, livelihoods of forest dependent people. The paper places such dynamics within a political ecology framework with a focus on an emerging global land question. Finally, the paper argues that agroecology has important potential as a farming alternative within the politics of climate change. Keywords: Climate Change, Communication, REDD, Political Ecology, Agroecology Introduction
The need to tackle deforestation and forest degradation as a global response to human‐induced climate change has been consistently highlighted in local and global political spaces. Yet the question of how remains problematic. Since the definition of the Bali action plan,the goal of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) has reached a prime place among proposals to mitigate climate change. In fact, REDD is a point over which agreement in the COP 15 was reached and the Copenhagen accord establishes the following: “We recognize the crucial role of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation and the need to enhance removals of greenhouse gas emission by forests and agree on the need to provide positive incentives to such actions through the immediate establishment of a mechanism including REDD‐plus, to enable the mobilization of financial resources from developed countries”. (Available at: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/cop15/eng/l07.pdf)
This agreement is partly based on the assumption that REDD schemes are one of the cheapest ways of facing climate change, an assumption stated in the Stern Review (Stern Report 2006: 537‐ 551).Also the British government‐sponsored Eliash review supported this assumption, estimating: “the finance required to halve emissions from the forest sector to 2030 could be around $17‐33 billion per year if included in global carbon trading” (p.19). But this review also points out that REDD projects should face questions of profitability emerging from competing economic activities in forested areas, e.g. food production. However, and putting aside the question of whether REDD is an appropriate mechanism to really face climate change properly or not, any attempt to fix REDD within a climate change regime faces a number of problematic factors. In this context, and throughout the making of a new global politics of the environment, the position of peoples fully or partly sustaining their livelihoods on the appropriation of the production of forest ecosystems is crucial. Thus communication flows with position statements about REDD within climate change negotiations is increasing.
The whole idea of REDD has been associated with a contested discourse field from its inception within climate change politics. The reports Carbon Sunk? the Potential Impacts Of Avoided Deforestation Credits On Emissions Trading Mechanisms and Carbon Scam: Noel Kempff Climate Action Project and the Push for Sub‐national Forest Offsets (sponsored by well‐known NGOs), exemplify literature directing attention to not only failures within REDD, but also damaging consequences for local communities that REDD proposals should benefit. These communication flows centered on REDD and climate change have contributed to awareness of the local impact of WS3.4 – Promoting the discovery of alternative futures by reframing climate change communication 9th European IFSA Symposium, 4‐7 July 2010, Vienna (Austria) 1549 REDD projects.
By contrasting such claims with the claims of REDD defenders, the contradictory features of communication flows based on REDD become increasingly apparent. Thus links between communication practices and climate change represent contradicting interests of the social forces at work in the world today. As REDD proposals contribute to discourse on the climate changeagriculture‐ energy connection, they imply questions involving farming systems directly or indirectly. This paper aims to contribute a systematic understanding of how REDD proposals imply new situations and communicative contexts interfacing with a large number of farming systems in the world. To accomplish this goal the paper focuses on REDD schemes as they link to agricultural needs, energy transitions and peoples’ livelihoods depending on forests. From a farming syste