Weaknesses Of The Kyoto Protocol In Relation To Forestry

The accounting reference base for emission reductions and emissions is not uniform for all activities. Those from afforestation, reforestation and forest management are measured in the commitment period and directly added or subtracted from a country's assigned amounts. This is the so-called 'gross-net' accounting system (Schlamadinger, 2007b). However, deforestation is not accounted for consistently for all Annex I parties. Parties for which land-use change and forestry were a source of emissions in 1990 may include emissions from deforestation in the calculation of their assigned amount (Article 3.7). This is so-called 'net-net' accounting. An inflated 1990 emissions level delivers a higher assigned amount in the first commitment period.

The importance of this variation in meeting targets is illustrated by the case of Australia. Table 2.1 shows how Australia is on target to meet its 2008-2012 commitment with the inclusion of LULUCF, while Figure 2.1 shows the change in Australia's emission levels relative to comparable Annex B countries without LULUCF. Box 2.1 details the circumstances that enabled Australia to use clauses concerning forestry sinks to its advantage.

Another anomaly exists with the accounting treatment of revegetation (net-net) compared with A/R (gross-net). The only difference is in definition, in that A/R results in a forest, while revegetation does not. The differing methodologies make project planning more difficult. A further anomaly exists where a country may elect to report revegetation but does not choose to report devegetation (Schlamadinger, 2007b).

Table 2.1 Australia's CO2e emissions by sector, 1990 and 2008-2012a

Sector

Mt CO2e

1990

2008-2012

2008-2012 as % of 1990

Stationary energy

196

304

Transport

62

88

Fugitive

29

37

Industrial processes

25

38

Agriculture

88

93

Waste

18

15

Land use, land-use change

136

44

Forestry

0

-21

Total

554

599

108

Note: 'Projections for 2008-2012 are made under Kyoto Protocol accounting rules. Australia's target is 8% above 1990 levels i.e. a level of 108% in 2008-2012 compared with 100% in 1990.

Note: 'Projections for 2008-2012 are made under Kyoto Protocol accounting rules. Australia's target is 8% above 1990 levels i.e. a level of 108% in 2008-2012 compared with 100% in 1990.

Source: Commonwealth of Australia (2007).

United Kingdom

European Union

ZI

Japan

1

United States

Canada

1

Australia

1

Source: World Resources Institute (2008).

Figure 2.1 Change in emissions of CO2e, without land use, land-use change and forestry, 1990 to 1994

Accounting for carbon in harvested wood products has been the subject of controversy given that only the carbon pools on site are accounted for (that is, above and below-ground biomass, dead wood, litter and soils) while harvested wood is assumed to be immediately oxidized. There is therefore no incentive to increase the stock of carbon in harvested

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Responses

  • Bildad
    What are the strength about kyoto protoko?
    5 months ago

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