The time is now for forests and land use
11 June 2014
According to the latest IPCC findings, forests and land use collectively account for 24% of global emissions – 10-12 GtCo2e annually. This is, by far, the largest sources of emissions in certain regions, notably Latin America, Central Africa and Southeast Asia. In 2012m in Brazil, more than 61% of GHG emissions came from forests and farming activities.
Addressing these emissions is crucial to bridge the annual emissions gap of 8-12 GtCO2e by 2020 that would lead to global temperature increases of more than 1.5°C. Targeted actions in key regions can deliver immediate emissions reductions for the 2015-2020 period while necessary reforms in other sectors are under way. This would be a massive help if we are to peak emissions before 2020.
ADP Workstream 2 provides an opportunity to cut emissions fast from high carbon landscapes like forests, peatlands, mangroves, and other wetlands. Once these ecosystems are severely degraded or lost, most of their emissions reductions potential are a thing of the past. Measures to conserve these ecosystems bring many other benefits such as: diverse biodiversity and securing the livelihoods of local communities and maintaining resilience. One way to achieve all of this is to prioritise REDD+ as an immediate action to fund before 2020. Mechanisms like REDD+ are well placed to help reduce emissions in the 2015-2020 period, especially if a landscape approach is adopted and integrated with broader strategies for sustainable land use.
Land use activities under both Workstreams of the ADP should follow a rights-based approach to carefully address food security and land rights, particularly in developing countries. If you want to learn more, CAN’s submission on principles for accounting under the ADP provides a useful guidance.