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Baseline choice and performance implications for REDD


Pana, Anca Claudia; Gheyssens, Jonathan (2016). Baseline choice and performance implications for REDD. Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, 5(1):79-124.

Abstract

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) projects are being designed and implemented across tropical countries, intending to curb the contribution of deforestation to greenhouse gas emissions. An important aspect of REDD implementation is the baseline against which reductions are measured. The baseline estimates the business-as-usual emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. We solve a dynamic model of land conversion from forest to agriculture in the presence of REDD, and assess the performance of four baselines. We show that none of the analysed baselines dominates in all performance aspects, and that the final baseline choice needs to maximise the trade-off between the effectiveness to reduce deforestation, cost-efficiency, and changes in income. The frequently used historical average baseline could be improved by using a forward-looking one, which is shown to better account for the opportunity costs faced by landowners. This result hinges on the ability of the baseline to predict deforestation rates without significant underestimations. We advocate the switch from a single-threshold baseline to a corridor methodology, which would provide continued incentives to reduce deforestation, even during periods of high opportunity costs. We finally show how the selection of certain baseline attributes, such as corridor bandwidth and symmetry, can enhance performance.

Abstract

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) projects are being designed and implemented across tropical countries, intending to curb the contribution of deforestation to greenhouse gas emissions. An important aspect of REDD implementation is the baseline against which reductions are measured. The baseline estimates the business-as-usual emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. We solve a dynamic model of land conversion from forest to agriculture in the presence of REDD, and assess the performance of four baselines. We show that none of the analysed baselines dominates in all performance aspects, and that the final baseline choice needs to maximise the trade-off between the effectiveness to reduce deforestation, cost-efficiency, and changes in income. The frequently used historical average baseline could be improved by using a forward-looking one, which is shown to better account for the opportunity costs faced by landowners. This result hinges on the ability of the baseline to predict deforestation rates without significant underestimations. We advocate the switch from a single-threshold baseline to a corridor methodology, which would provide continued incentives to reduce deforestation, even during periods of high opportunity costs. We finally show how the selection of certain baseline attributes, such as corridor bandwidth and symmetry, can enhance performance.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Banking and Finance
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:06 Jan 2017 14:33
Last Modified:03 Jun 2017 09:48
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:2160-6544
Additional Information:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy on 13 Apr 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/21606544.2015.1028465
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/21606544.2015.1028465
Related URLs:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21606544.2015.1028465?journalCode=teep20 (Publisher)
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:12557

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