As ever in the arcane world of Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry LULUCF negotiations, progress towards a shorter text this week has not necessarily made it easier to understand. ECO has even caught whiff of some positive changes, though it is hard to get more than a whiff when everything is behind closed doors.
There is still something smelly in the draft text and it is hiding behind a bland name – projected baselines for forest management. Here is how it works: A Party tells you what its emissions from forest management will be during the commitment period and then will only be given LULUCF credits or debits if actual emissions are different from this projection.
ECO is confused (this is LULUCF after all). Depending on what level these “projected baselines” are set at, this could mean Parties might never have to account for their logging emissions. A country can pretend that its emissions from forest management are going to increase and not incur any debits, as long as this increase was predicted ahead of time. ECO shudders to think what this type of approach would mean if applied to all sectors.
Luckily, not everyone is behind this ruse. Past submissions from Norway and Switzerland have expressed a preference for accounting for changes in emissions from a historical level. Other countries may be out there that support such an approach, but they are hard to see; hidden inside the EU bloc on this issue. ECO calls those Parties to step out and identify themselves.
Is it any wonder, with ideas like this still on the table, that the G77 and China are considering how to cap credits from the entire LULUCF sector?