Climate Change and Forests
Emerging Policy and Market Opportunities
Publication Year: 2009
The global climate change problem has finally entered the world's consciousness. While efforts to find a solution have increased momentum, international attention has focused primarily on the industrial and energy sectors. The forest, and land-use sector, however, remains one of the most significant untapped opportunities for carbon mitigation. The expiration of the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period in 2012 presents an opportunity for the international community to put this sector back on the agenda.
In this timely, wide-ranging volume, an international team of experts explain the links between climate change and forests, highlighting the potential utility of this sector within emerging climate policy frameworks and carbon markets. After framing forestry activities within the larger context of climate-change policy, the contributors analyze the operation and efficacy of market-based mechanisms for forest conservation and climate change. Drawing on experiences from around the world, the authors present concrete recommendations for policymakers, project developers, and market participants. They discuss sequestration rights in Chile, carbon offset programs in Australia and New Zealand, and emerging policy incentives at all levels of the U.S. government. The book also explores the different voluntary schemes for carbon crediting, provides an overview of best practices in carbon accounting, and presents tools for use in future sequestration and offset programs. It concludes with consideration of various incentive options for slowing deforestation and protecting the world's remaining forests.
Climate Change and Forests provides a realistic view of the role that the forest and land-use sector can play in a post-Kyoto regime. It will serve as a practical reference manual for anyone concerned about climate policy, including the negotiators working to define a robust and enduring international framework for addressing climate change.
Published by: Brookings Institution Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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I am delighted and honored to have been invited to write a foreword for this excellent and timely work. It is particularly timely because in December 2007, in a historic decision, the parties to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), meeting in Bali, Indonesia, decided to include the issue of avoided deforestation—or “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” (REDD), as it is known...
PART ONE: Introduction
Chapter 1. Climate Change and Forestry: An Introduction
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Climate change is one of the most significant global challenges of our time, and addressing it requires the urgent formulation of comprehensive and effective policy responses. A changing climate affects nearly every sector of the world’s economy and is intricately intertwined with other major environmental threats such as population...
Chapter 2. The Idea of Market-Based Mechanisms for Forest Conservation and Climate Change
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The world has approximately 4 billion hectares of forests, roughly 30 percent of them primary forests.1 Their provision of goods and services plays an important role in the overall health of the planet and is of fundamental importance to human economy and welfare. These goods and services—collectively called ecosystem goods and services...
PART TWO: The International Arena
Chapter 3. History and Context of LULUCF in the Climate Regime
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The subject of land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) was introduced in the run-up to the third Conference of the Parties (COP 3) in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, at a very late stage in the negotiations that resulted in the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol. The discussion was hedged with a serious lack of understanding of...
Chapter 4. Risks and Criticisms of Forestry-Based Climate Change Mitigation and Carbon Trading
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During the discussions leading up to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, the inclusion of forestry-related emissions in the emerging treaty turned out to be one of the most contentious points and lay at the center of many heated and emotional debates. The attention of several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) remains focused on “carbon...
Chapter 5. Forest Carbon and Other Ecosystem Services: Synergies between the Rio Conventions
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Sequestering carbon in forests by planting trees and reducing deforestation and forest degradation is an internationally accepted measure used to mitigate climate change. Projects that implement such measures may be awarded tradable “carbon credits.” These carbon sequestration...
Chapter 6. Forestry Projects under the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation: Rules and Regulations
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Under the Kyoto Protocol, nearly all industrialized countries and economies in transition (“Annex I countries”) agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to at least 5 percent below the level of 1990. Emissions from a variety of sectors including energy...
Case Study: The Humbo Community-Based Natural Regeneration Project, Ethiopia
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The Humbo Community-Based Natural Regeneration Project offers an opportunity to combine natural resource management, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and poverty alleviation. The project is seeking registration as a CDM project activity. In 2005 the World Bank’s Biocarbon Fund indicated interest in purchasing the carbon offsets generated by the project, which was developed and is being implemented by...
Chapter 7. How Renewable Is Bioenergy?
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At forty-six exajoules per year, bioenergy constitutes more than 10 percent of global primary energy. Traditional solid biomass fuels (fuelwood, charcoal, dung, and straw) constitute about 80 percent of global biomass use. Lately interest in biofuels and bioenergy has increased significantly as a result of higher fossil fuel prices, concerns about energy security, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to mitigate climate change. The drive to increase bioenergy consumption is raising...
PART THREE: Practical Experiences
Chapter 8. Design Issues in Clean Development Mechanism Forestry Projects
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The design of an afforestation and reforestation (AR) project under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol is a two-stage process. The first stage includes the definition of a project idea, the evaluation of its eligibility under CDM rules, and preliminary estimations of carbon removals, among other things. The second...
Chapter 9. The Permanence Challenge: An Economic Analysis of Temporary Credits
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Carbon sequestered in biomass or soils may be released accidentally because of fire, windstorms, or other natural hazards or because of conversion of the land to agriculture or pasture. The so-called non-permanence risk constitutes a fundamental difference between biological sequestration projects and projects that reduce the emission of carbon into the atmosphere. The risk of non-permanence matters because sequestering carbon temporarily does not have the same effect on...
Chapter 10. Project-Based Mechanisms: Methodological Approaches for Measuring and Monitoring Carbon Credits
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Projects based on land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF), such as afforestation and reforestation (AR) projects, have the ability to produce real, significant, positive carbon effects. However, without scientifically tested and rigorously applied methods for measuring these effects, the actual carbon dioxide emission reductions will not be quantifiable or creditable. Fortunately, widely recognized standards...
Chapter 11. Characterizing Sequestration Rights Legally in Chile
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Forestry is an important economic sector in Chile. Tree plantations currently make up 14 percent of forest cover. Although forests are harvested primarily for industrial purposes and firewood, they are also used for animal grazing and are protected for conservation reasons. Since the 1990s the forestry sector’s contribution to GDP...
Chapter 12. Legal Issues and Contractual Solutions for LULUCF Projects under the Clean Development Mechanism
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Over the past decade, substantial scientific work has been done to enable the relatively accurate modeling of and accounting for greenhouse gases sequestered by land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) activities. Recognizing that the sequestration of carbon by forestry activities provides a valuable environmental service...
PART FOUR: Outlook: Avoided Deforestation and the Post-Kyoto Agenda
Chapter 13. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries: An Introduction
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Deforestation is one of the underlying causes of current levels of atmospheric CO2 concentration. It has been estimated that about 40 percent of CO2 emissions over the last 200 years have been from changes in land use and land management, most of which have been deforestation.1 The remaining forest ecosystems still...
Chapter 14. An Accounting Mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of Forests in Developing Countries
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Tropical deforestation is an important issue in the debate over the global carbon cycle and climate change. The release of CO2 due to tropical deforestation can be estimated from three main parameters: the level of tropical deforestation and degradation, the spatial distribution of forest types, and the amount of biomass and soil carbon for different forest types. Our knowledge of the rates of change of tropical forests and the distribution...
Case Study: Creative Financing and Multisector Partners in Madagascar
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The Ankeneny-Zahamena-Mantadia Biodiversity Conservation Corridor and Restoration Project (“Mantadia”) is situated in the eastern portion of Madagascar, touching on five major protected areas and a forest station. These are Zahamena National Park, the Zahamena Strict Nature Reserve, the Mangerivola Special Reserve, Mantadia National Park, the Analamazaotra Special Reserve (commonly known as...
Chapter 15. A Latin American Perspective on Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry Negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
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Our goal in this chapter is to provide some basic elements to facilitate understanding of the dynamics and reasons behind the positions of Latin American countries in the land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). To this end we present an overview of the negotiation groups involving Latin American...
Case Study: The Noel Kempff Climate Action Project, Bolivia
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The Noel Kempff Climate Action Project (NKCAP) is the second largest greenhouse gas emission reduction project developed under the Activity Implemented Jointly program of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Designed by the Nature Conservancy and Fundaci
Chapter 16. Compensated Reductions: Rewarding Developing Countries for Protecting Forest Carbon
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Tropical forests store 200 billion tonnes of carbon (200 petagrams [Pg] C) globally.1 Deforestation is releasing these stocks into the atmosphere, and both regional and global feedbacks could cause massive carbon emissions, contributing to global warming and the collapse of the ecological equilibrium of tropical forest ecosystems.2 In Amazonia...
Chapter 17. Creating Incentives for Avoiding Further Deforestation: The Nested Approach
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Forests are the world’s most important terrestrial storehouses of carbon and play an important role in controlling the climate. Yet in many parts of the world forests are degraded and destroyed to expand agricultural land, gain timber, or clear space for infrastructure or mining. Tropical deforestation has severe consequences for biodiversity. It affects...
PART FIVE: National Systems and Voluntary Carbon Offsets
Chapter 18. Legislative Approaches to Forest Sinks in Australia and New Zealand: Working Models for Other Jurisdictions?
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In this chapter we summarize the approaches taken by Australia and New Zealand, two neighboring countries with historically different views on participation in the Kyoto Protocol, toward regulating and encouraging the creation and trading of carbon commodities from forest sinks. Australia and New Zealand have...
Case Study: The West Coast Development Trust,a New Zealand Example
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New Zealand’s West Coast Development Trust shows that when the right economic incentives are in place, forest conservation can compete economically as well as politically with deforestation drivers such as commercial logging. It also shows how funds might be managed in project-based initiatives through the establishment of a trust managed by local community leaders along with donors, local...
Chapter 19. Using Forests and Farms to Combat Climate Change: How Emerging Policies in the United States Promote Land Conservation and Restoration
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Forests, grasslands, and agricultural lands across the United States play an integral role in sequestering carbon dioxide emissions. Estimates for 2005 show that this carbon “sink” absorbs 780 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year, equal to approximately 11 percent of 2005 U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, development and other land conversion activities have...
Case Study: The Van Eck Forest Management Project in California
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The Pacific Forest Trust submitted California’s first greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction project with the California Climate Action Registry (CCAR) on behalf of the Van Eck Forest Foundation in July 2006.1 Some 45 percent of California was naturally forested, yet over 40 percent of this was lost to...
Chapter 20. Carving a Niche for Forests in the Voluntary Carbon Markets
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The voluntary offsetting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions started as early as 1989, when Applied Energy Services Corporation (AES), an American electricity company, decided to invest in an agroforestry project in Guatemala.1 With this investment AES wished to offset the GHG emissions of its new cogeneration plant...
Case Study: Reflections on Community-Based Carbon Forestry in Mexico
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My involvement in community-based carbon management started one night in 1993 when I was awakened in Edinburgh by a phone call from someone at Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Ecología (INE) informing me that the institute had approved funding to investigate the feasibility of supporting agroforestry and forest restoration in indigenous areas of Chiapas using carbon service payments. The idea of using...
Chapter 21. Developing Forestry Carbon Projects for the Voluntary Carbon Market: A Practical Analysis
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Regulated carbon markets create value through governments’ legislation of emission reduction requirements and definition of market rules. Such regulatory activity creates standardized units of trade and rules regulating, among other things, the creation of offsets that can be sold into the market. In addition to the regulated...
Case Study: Carbon Sequestration in the Sierra Gorda of Mexico
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Bosque Sustentable, A.C., a nongovernmental organization working in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve and surrounding areas in eastern central Mexico, signed a contract with the United Nations Foundation in March 2006 for the sale of 5,230 emission removal units (t CO2e). The contract was the culmination of years of hard work, and our experience with the international carbon market during this time highlights the difficulties and opportunities for organizations interested...
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Page Count: 346
Publication Year: 2009