Thursday, April 2, 2009

Countries discuss new activities their new ideas for LULUCF

The first 'contact group' on LULUCF was today in Bonn. A contact group is like plenary but smaller... and there's no translation... and usually observers cannot make statements... and its more focused on details.

So today some details came out on some new proposal that Parties have made for changes in LULUCF:

  • Tuvalu proposed that devegetation and 'forest biomass decline' be added as new activities. As the name suggests, 'Forest Biomass Decline' is basically any activity that causes a reduction in forest carbon stocks. It is presented as a politically more palatable alternative to 'forest degradation.' You can read Tuvalu's submission, it's really interesting and clever.
  • The EU formally presented its idea about The Bar. Here's the summary: a default baseline would be selected for use by all Parties based on historic carbon fluxes (e.g. 1990, 2008, etc.). Increases (credits) and decreases (debits) in the carbon sink would be measured relative to this baseline (it is a form of net-net accounting, explained in a previous post). Here's the big BUT: A Party would be free to negotiate an alternative baseline if this didn't fit their national circumstances, in particular for example if the country was forecast to have a declining rate of carbon sequestration. This is the problem of most concern to my and my colleagues here - negotiating alternate bars could delay the process and would most likely lead to perverse outcomes designed to suit the interests of the Party ('more credits, please'). In the worse case scenario, these bars get negotiated after the Copenhagen deal is struck and they can be used to undo the Party's national target.
  • Finally, Canada presented its proposal that it should not account for emissions/removals from croplands if they have become saturated with carbon. There was mixed reaction to this in the room, but I tend to agree with the view that we have to stop engineering outcomes and just account for emissions.

The next meeting will be informal, which means it is closed to observers. All we know for sure is on the agenda is wetland management as a new activity.

Oh, and I should make a note on process: the co-chairs of the discussion proposed to put together a 'non-paper' (unofficial) that attempts to collapse some of the LULUCF options being negotiated so some progress can be made towards an agreement.

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chris!