Hobart forest carbon workshop putt


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  • The ANU report found that logging reduces the carbon stored in south-east Australia’s natural forest by 40 – 60% over two logging rotations.
  • Hobart forest carbon workshop putt

    1. 1. Forest Carbon and Climate Change Mitigation: Recent Developments in the International Policy Framework
    2. 2. UN Climate Negotiations: two streams addressing forests • Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), a mechanism to be applied in developing countries pursuant to the Bali Action Plan • Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF), applied to developed countries (Annex 1) under the Kyoto Protocol
    3. 3. REDD • 17% of global emissions result from deforestation, mostly tropical forests • Impact of forest degradation also substantial: <25% • Industrial logging & roading are major factors • Plantation conversion a big issue • Forest sector initially, maybe expansion across land base later
    4. 4. Expanded to REDD + • REDD focus is emissions reductions – these can be immediate and large • REDD+ focus is enhancing carbon stocks, ie sequestration – slower: through restoration of degraded natural forest, agro-forestry and conservation agriculture, afforestation and reforestation • Problem: attempts to include SFM in REDD+ inherently emissive activities: logging, plantation conversion of natural forests, oil palm establishment on cleared peat-swamp forest
    5. 5. Prioritisation of actions • (a) reducing immediate and ongoing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, giving priority to protecting intact natural forests and maintaining their existing carbon stocks, above and below ground;
    6. 6. Prioritisation of actions • (b) enhancing removals by restoring degraded forests to functioning ecosystems; • (c) sustainable management of secondary forests to the extent that it reduces pressure on intact forests and reduces deforestation and forest degradation.
    7. 7. REDD Safeguards • Ensure rights & interests of indigenous peoples and forest dependant communities • Ensure biodiversity & ecosystems services • Against plantation conversion • Ensure strong forest governance • Monitor, report and verify application of safeguards
    8. 8. Other REDD issues • Offsetting: developed countries avoiding action in other sectors, at home • Permanence and leakage (displacement) • Demand-side management - illegal logging & sustainable consumption : All countries should support REDD actions by addressing the diverse social and economic drivers of deforestation and forest degradation to relieve the pressures on forests that result in greenhouse gas emissions.
    9. 9. Developed Country Forests • Opportunities to reduce emissions in developed countries In Australia: • Substantial withdrawal from native forest logging – Gunns’ announcement • Tasmanian forest ‘peace’ talks & likely increase in protected forest areas • Commitment to 5-20% emissions reduction cannot be met by existing measures and ETS not happening soon
    10. 10. Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) • Rules under negotiation for 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol (commences 2012) • Applies to developed countries that are Parties to and have targets under the KP • Current rules notoriously perverse – enable countries to hide emissions whilst accounting for sequestration • New rules should provide incentives for emissions reductions
    11. 11. LULUCF issues Current accounting rules: • Activities-based accounting • Only 3 are compulsory – deforestation, afforestation and reforestation (Article 3.3) • Countries can pick & choose which other activities to account – so they don’t choose emissive activities (Article 3.4) • The accounts are skewed to understate emissions and do not reflect what the atmosphere sees
    12. 12. Forests Accounting • Very few countries account for ‘forest management’ (ie logging) • Australia does not account for logging emissions (forest management) • Neither does Australia (or others) account for the conversion of native forests to plantations
    13. 13. Logging reduces the carbon stored in a natural forest by 40 - 60%
    14. 14. Forests Definition in use under the Kyoto Protocol • A structural definition A minimum area of land of 0.05 ha with crown tree cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 10% with trees with the potential to reach a minimum height of 2 meters at maturity in situ It includes (i) young stands of natural regeneration, (ii) all plantations which have yet to reach a crown density of 10-30% or tree height of 2-5 meters, (iii) areas normally forming part of the forest area which are temporarily un-stocked as a result of human intervention such as harvesting or natural causes but which are expected to revert to forest • Includes plantations – blind to conversion
    15. 15. Revision of accounting rules • Attempt to tackle design flaws and make LULUCF accounts more comprehensive and symmetrical On forest management: • Make accounting for logging emissions mandatory • Revise forest definition - plantations are not forests, they are an agricultural crop
    16. 16. Reference levels for forest management • Issue of how baselines will be set, to which future emissions will be compared • 1st Commitment Period related emissions to 1990 base year • Proposal for projected reference levels, to be set individually by each country for 2nd Commitment Period
    17. 17. LULUCF loopholes • Proposed reference levels contain large emissions loopholes – in total 400mt, Australia’s is approx 50 mt • How? Business as usual plus increased levels of future logging are included in the baseline • Why? Emissions reduction is not the focus • Impact: undermines developed country targets & fails to incentivise emissions reduction
    18. 18. Other forest issues • Natural disturbance – need to ensure that Australia is not penalised for extraordinary events such as catastrophic wildfire • Biofuels combustion & biomass burning currently accounted as carbon neutral, but emissions go to atmosphere - ensure such emissions are accounted under LULUCF • Harvested wood products – proposals over- emphasise sequestration & must await more comprehensive, land-based accounting
    19. 19. Example: perverse effect of skewed accounting rules • A & R must be accounted for, so the 2020 plantations have contributed credits • But when they are logged the emissions (debits) must be accounted too • However logging emissions for forest management of other areas not accounted • Therefore Tasmanian wedges report recommends not logging 2020 plantations (avoids debits) & log native forest (avoids debits) • This is bizarre!
    20. 20. Take home message • There is significant potential to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in Australia, and particularly in Tasmania • International policy under the Kyoto Protocol should show more ambition to reduce emissions in the sector, rather than hiding them • Australia has not yet determined it’s position on ‘forest management’ and could become a champion for mandatory accounting referenced to historic emissions
    21. 21. For information contact: peg.putt@wilderness.org.au .