2009 is the year of the Copenhagen agreement; the year Parties to the Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) are expected to come to a new global agreement. That means things are getting serious.
Parties were called upon in Poznan to make their first formal submissions on land use, land-use change and forestry by February 15. You should soon be able to see submissions being put up on the website (you can already see the submissions made by Parties last year). Using all the submissions and discussions to date, the Chair of the negotiations will present the first draft of legal text for LULUCF at the up-coming meeting this March in Bonn. Translation: things are getting serious and we should see ourselves starting to converge on what the new rules for forest and land use will be. At stake are fundamental questions such as which emissions will be included?; will accounting be mandatory?; how will emissions from natural disturbances be dealt with?
I have been working since last December to coordinate a submission from the International Climate Action Network, which we finalized and submitted to the Climate Change Secretariat over the weekend. I am very pleased with what CAN has accomplished in this document - I think there are lot of interesting and substantive ideas and recommendations Parties to consider.
For me, a few points rise to the top:
- Parties should be induced to base their mitigation approaches on the forest landscape context - forest protection should be the activity of choice in largely intact forest landscapes.
- It must be mandatory to account for emissions from forest and peatland degradation and these can be added as new activities under the current LULUCF framework. Forest degradation could simply be defined as 'forestry in primary forests' and 'forest conversion to plantations.'
- Accounting rules for LULUCF must be settled and their implications on National accounts be made clear before new National targets for emission reductions are negotiated. Reductions in emissions should be expected from LULUCF and National targets should be raised to incorporate the anticipated credits from LULUCF.
Photo credit: Drained Finnish mire from Suomen Iuonnonsuojeluliito