Monday, June 14, 2010

Bonn Climate Talks: Part 10 - Where from here?

Though the cough I earned with much hand-shaking and long hours of campaigning persists, the Bonn Climate Talks themselves have wrapped up.

The forestry issues were not resolved in Bonn as some had expected/feared, but these talks have clearly set the stage for some kind of resolution at the next round of talks in August.

In fact, it's probably fair to say that the biggest outcome from the last few days of the talks was a proposal to hold a 'pre-sessional' workshop on LULUCF before the next week-long meeting in Bonn officially begins. ENGOs have written a letter to John Ashe, the Chair of the negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol, to request that observers can attend this meeting. His response may well determine whether a logging deal is stitched up behind closed doors.

For my final post from the June Bonn Climate Talks, I have attached this graph that was shown by the EU at a session on the effects of LULUCF rules on countries' overall targets. The graph shows very neatly the effect of different approaches to reference levels being taken by developed countries:
  • Most developed countries have 'conveniently' set their reference levels to exactly equal the emissions they forecast for 2012-2020, thereby hiding net increases in emissions from accounting. These countries show neither credits, nor debits in this graph;
  • Norway and Russia have both chosen 1990 as a base year to account for emissions from forest management. Both countries plan to increase net emissions from today but will earn credits because current emissions are lower than they were in 1990;
  • Japan is manufacturing credits for itself by arbitrarily choosing a zero sink as a reference level. That means it will get credits as long as its national forest is a net sink, even though it plans to increase net emissions during 2012-2020;
  • The most striking feature of this graph to me is Switzerland: it is the only country whose proposed reference level would deliver debits. Like the other countries, its forest will remain a net sink; Like the other countries, it plans to increase net emissions. Very much unlike the other countries, it has acknowledged some accountability for this increase in emissions and proposed a reference level that is between the historical average the forecast increase in emissions. The result will be a carbon price signal to do better carbon management in forests... enough to crown a hero in these negotiations.

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