Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Countries forget about forests in their pledges

The UN Climate Change Secretariat reports that 55 countries, representing 78 % of global emissions have made their pledges under the Copenhagen Accord.

The pledges give no indication of the effect that accounting for sinks will have on targets for developed countries. Only Belarus and New Zealand mention that targets are premised on clear (Belarus) and effective (New Zealand) accounting rules for Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry (LULUCF).

The uncertainty of forest accounting rules creates much uncertainty for what these pledges actually mean. It also creates the same dynamic that existed when countries negotiated the current flawed rules: countries are now making pledges before finalizing the rules. This creates an incentive for weak rules that make it easier to reach overall targets.

So much for learning from our mistakes!

There is still no clarity on how negotiations will unfold this year. The Secretariat has just formally invited views from countries on 'the need' for additional meeting time and the timing, duration and number of such meetings. Submissions are requested by February 16.