Forests are a critical part of global efforts to reduce GHG emissions. Emissions from deforestation and land degradation are cumulatively responsible for up to 20 per cent of global GHG emissions and are the largest sources of GHG emissions in many developing countries.
In addition to being sinks for carbon dioxide emissions, forests also play other important roles. They regulate hydrological cycles, stabilise natural landscapes and protect soils and water courses. Forests also contain some of the world’s most important global biodiversity and ecosystems, provide livelihoods for local communities and the world’s poorest people, and support Indigenous communities and cultures.
REDD+ is a legal and policy framework under the UNFCCC that provides economic, social and environmental incentives for developing countries to reduce GHG emissions from deforestation and related activities through the creation of carbon credits.
There are three key reasons why supporting REDD+ makes sense for BHP Billiton: REDD+ provides an opportunity to access carbon credits with multiple benefits to the environment and communities; the GHG reductions through REDD+ are immediate; and it provides an important mechanism to bridge the developed and developing divide as part of climate policy negotiations.
BHP Billiton’s integrated REDD+ strategy focuses on project support, improved governance and enhanced market stimulation for REDD+ carbon credits. In FY2015, BHP Billiton supported the development and launch of a Guide to the REDD+ Rules under the UNFCCC, in conjunction with law firm Baker & McKenzie. It is the first of its kind to be published anywhere in the world and consolidates key UNFCCC rules on REDD+ into a simple yet comprehensive document that governments and other interested parties can use in international negotiations or when implementing REDD+ domestically.