The future of Annex I forests and their role in climate change mitigation is about to be decided here in Cancun.
ECO has long highlighted how inappropriate and possibly fraudulent LULUCF accounting rules could be used by Annex I Parties to avoid accounting for their forestry emissions. This week a group of NGOs assessed the scale of these impacts, in particular, the magnitude of proposed forest management baselines relative to the ambition of Parties’ pledges. Astonishingly, the emission reduction efforts of some Parties could be reduced by up to 66% as a consequence of unaccounted emissions from logging their forests.
There is still more than one proposal on the table, and it is clear that the impact of forest management accounting on countries’ pledges will differ depending on the approach agreed upon.
A review process was proposed by developing countries earlier this year to evaluate the robustness of favoured baseline proposals by Annex I countries. The new KP Chair’s text calls on Parties to provide the required information by February 2011 and for expert reviewers to conclude their review by May.
But let’s be clear. The impact of the proposed reference levels is unacceptable and a review won’t fix that. However, broadening the review to include an objective analysis of all accounting options could help Parties make an informed decision about which approach should be used in the second commitment period. To do this, Parties would need to provide information about each of the potential options on the table and how it will impact their pledges.
This analysis is urgently required for a meaningful discussion on numbers. That will achieve two crucial things: the discussion of ‘numbers’ will go forward with consideration of all potential options, and decisions will be made based on the likely real impacts on the climate.
|Party||Emission Reduction Pledge % 2020||Unaccounted Logging Emissions %|
|New Zealand||-10 to -20||+66.0|
|Norway||-30 to -40||+8.7|
|Russian Fed||-15 to -25||+5.5|
|Australia||-5 to -15||+4.0|
|EU||-20 to -30||+2.7|
|Switzerland||-20 to -30||+2.4|
Notes: Figures are percentages of country-specific base years. Pledged emission reductions for 2020 (rel 1990) from FCCC/KP/AWG/2010/INF.2/Rev.1. Unaccounted logging emissions equals the difference between Party’s proposed reference levels and average of historical net emissions. The estimate of average historical net emissions from Annex I forest management calculated using data from 1990-2008 (forest land remaining forest land) from Parties’ 2010 inventory submissions. Any adjustments were made on consultation with Parties and technical experts. Japan has not yet indicated whether its pledges include accounting for forest management.