Decisions made on reference levels will in large part determine whether REDD will strengthen or weaken the global effort to avert catastrophic climate change. National reference levels that incentivise real permanent emission reductions from historic levels could help close the gigatonne gap that remains from Copenhagen, while projected reference levels could take parties even further away from their commitment to keep global temperature rise below 2oC.
Most discussions on reference levels focus on their usage in phase 3 implementation, while what is needed is a system that will curb all major drivers of deforestation and degradation as quickly and equitably as possible. As such, different types of reference levels could be utilised throughout the phased implementation of REDD. This effort would focus on linking performance appraisal to the implementation of sustainable development policies and measures (SDPMs), IPCC default values for emission reductions and leakage prevention (including proxies such as the use of Intact Forest Landscapes), as well as the MRV of verified emission reductions from deforestation and degradation.
Greenpeace submission to SBSTA on Reference Levels for REDD