Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Draft Rules on Forestry and Land Use

A new draft text on rules for accounting for emissions from forestry and land use has come out of the Bangkok Climate Change Talks. The changes in the text are mostly the result of work that has been done between developed countries on the rule changes they want to see.

It's not pretty.

On the main issue of how to measure performance, the text is still overflowing with the pet loopholes of each country, engineered to erase any emissions that the atmosphere sees from logging.

It appears that there are special LULUCF glasses that negotiators wear to make this distorted stuff seem reasonable. Here is an example of the kind of things you hear in the hallways to rationalize it:
  • But if we account for the emissions from logging, there will be no incentive for bioenergy (because countries like to falsely assume that it is carbon neutral);
  • We shouldn't account for emissions from logging because we do sustainable forest management (and that's relevant how?)!;
  • We can't account for changes in emissions because we plan on increasing logging levels!;\
There are a couple of other significant changes to the text:
  • Developed countries have mostly agreed how they would account for carbon stored in wood products. I've never felt this was a good idea, but the text does have some reasonable safeguards in it - but not yet good enough!
  • Australia, the EU and Canada have come up with a combined proposal for how to remove emissions from fires and other natural disturbances from the accounts. They are still in disagreement about whether to exclude all emissions or only the biggest, extraordinary events -- significantly there is still a huge loophole in this idea: there is no accountability for countries if they salvage log these areas - a significant extra source of emissions!
A number of countries have said that they want the rules settled by Barcelona (the meeting in November) so their implications on country emission reduction targets can be clear in time for the final deal in Copenhagen. I hope they get their wish.


Markus said...

Hi Cris, how about the interaction between 3.4 - "forest management accounting" and HWP; is there any sign on how these two parts will fit toegether? As of my last information - both could only be voted for in common; so if chosing 3.4 one have to chose HWP as well and vice versa?
Or is the discussion going on a totally differnt approach?
Thanks for info!

Chris Henschel said...

Hi Markus, that's right. The current text does thankfully contain that safeguard. Wood products are a pool and it can only be counted if changes in all pools resulting from forest management are being accounted.

Markus said...

Very good - Thanks Chris

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

Do you know if the draft text on proposed LULUCF rules is available online anywhere?

Chris Henschel said...

Yes, the new draft rules are up: