New plan would pay tropical countries for protecting terrestrial carbon, regardless of where it is stored
July 24, 2008 [Corrected Aug 5, 2008]
The concept is presented in a paper by the Terrestrial Carbon Group, a group of scientists, economists and public policy experts. The paper, "How to Include Terrestrial Carbon in Developing Nations in the Overall Climate Change Solution" (PDF), lays out a series of "guiding principles" for action to address emissions from terrestrial carbon sources.
"Both market and non-market approaches to terrestrial carbon and climate change are necessary. Within that context, the Terrestrial Carbon Group proposes a market-based system that includes all the components that would need to be agreed at an international level (whether bilateral, multilateral or global)."
"Nations would determine national and sub-national implementation systems targeted to their specific circumstances. The proposed system is as simple as possible and has two purposes: (i) to allow the international trading (whether bilateral, multilateral, or global) of carbon credits based on the maintenance and creation of terrestrial carbon, and (ii) to guarantee that action under the system contributes to long-term climate change mitigation."
The group says its plan "encourages broad participation because it provides incentives to developing nations regardless of their historic rates of deforestation and terrestrial carbon emissions."
In other words countries that would potentially lose out from the currently-proposed REDD mechanism — nations like Guyana, Suriname, and DR Congo — could cash in on their forest stewardship, earning funds to continue conservation efforts and improving the quality of life of people living in and around forests.
"Our proposed system does not restrict economic use of land, but instead opens up one new economic development option — generating and selling terrestrial carbon credits. This puts a new economic value on terrestrial carbon, including trees, soil and peat," said Terrestrial Carbon Group member, Dr Chatib Basri of the Institute for Economic and Social Research at the University of Indonesia.
How it would work
Ralph Ashton, who leads the Terrestrial Carbon Group, told mongabay.com that the proposal "first categorizes all terrestrial carbon into protected and tradable, and then pays to keep the tradable terrestrial carbon. The protected terrestrial carbon must be retained for the nation (or sub-national entities) to remain eligible for payments.
"It is therefore not a carbon stock approach that rewards the maintenance of all forest carbon, but an avoided emissions approach using terrestrial carbon stocks and a protected / tradable categorization to set the baseline," he continued. "The level of threat determines whether particular terrestrial carbon is tradable or protected."
"The good news is that, while some uncertainty remains, we know how to use forests and land management as part of the climate change solution. The science, the economics, and the drivers of land-use decisions are all well enough understood. And the institutional arrangements are possible," said Terrestrial Carbon Group member, Dr Thomas Lovejoy of the Heinz Center.
"Climate change is not just an environmental issue; it has impacts on all facets of life in developed and developing nations alike. Avoiding dangerous climate change is an essential task for the whole world. It is a difficult task, and we must therefore use all available means," added Terrestrial Carbon Group member, Professor Hadi Soesastro of CSIS in Indonesia.
"Terrestrial carbon is a critical untapped element that could provide up to 25% of the climate change solution," added Ashton.
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Guyana has offered up the entirety of its remaining forest cover as a giant carbon offset, reports The Independent. Guyana's President, Bharrat Jagdeo, has offered to place the country's extensive rainforests under the control of an international body in exchange for "development aid" and "technical assistance needed to make the change to a green economy."
Carbon market could fund rainforest conservation, fight climate change May 19, 2008
A mechanism to fund forest conservation through the carbon market could significantly reduce greenhouse emissions, help preserve biodiversity, and improve rural livelihoods, says a policy expert with the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) in Massachusetts. In an interview with mongabay.com, WHRC Policy Advisor and Research Associate Tracy Johns says that Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), a proposed policy mechanism for combating climate change by safeguarding forests and the carbon they store, offers great potential for protecting tropical rainforests.
REDD will fail if needs of forest communities aren't addressed December 7, 2007
Initiatives to reduce emissions by reducing tropical deforestation (REDD) will fail unless policymakers adequately address the underlying drivers of forest degradation and destruction, argues a new report published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
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