Biodiversity Standards in Voluntary Forestry Offset Schemes

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Having analyzed examples of how the regulatory carbon market might impact biodiversity through afforestation and reforestation, the analysis of the implications of forestry sinks now turns to the biodiversity implications of forestry offsets in voluntary markets.

Voluntary schemes for offsetting greenhouse emissions are examined in depth in Chapter 3. These types of offsets, certified by third parties or not, come in many different forms, from wind farms, to industrial gas destruction, to wetland conservation. Carbon credits generated by voluntary schemes are not tradable in the official exchanges set up under the Kyoto Protocol or by governments such as the EU ETS or in Australia's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. Nevertheless, the voluntary market is the only effective market for forestry sinks given that no certified credits have (at the time of writing) yet been issued for A/R projects under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol (UNEP Risoe, 2008).

The demand for voluntary offsets is by governments, institutions, businesses and private citizens wishing to offset their emissions for ethical, guilt or public image reasons. Forest offsets as opposed, for example, to wind farms or switching fuels, are often preferred because buyers are attracted by the promise of associated biodiversity and social benefits (Bayon et al., 2007). Brokers and intermediaries organize the supply of land for forestry sinks and bring the supply and demand together. Figure 4.7 shows the types and shares of voluntary projects, and Figure 4.8 the location of forestry projects by type. While the statistics on types of voluntary projects yield little in terms of their benefits or otherwise to biodiversity, it is noteworthy that avoided deforestation, which implies a co-benefit of biodiversity benefit, increased from 3 to 5 percent of the total market in 2007.

The next section turns to examining standards being applied to voluntary forestry offsets schemes with particular reference to the criteria applied to assessing their biodiversity impacts. Then follows a summary of the innovative sources of funding to reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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