Carbon Sinks and Climate Change

Carbon Sinks and Climate Change

Forests in the Fight Against Global Warming

Advances in Ecological Economics series

Colin A.G. Hunt

Reforestation and avoiding deforestation are ways of harnessing nature to tackle global warming – the greatest challenge facing humankind. In this book, Colin Hunt deals comprehensively with the present and future role of forests in climate change policy and practice. A review of the workings of carbon markets, both based on the Kyoto Protocol and voluntary participation, provides a base from which to explore forestry’s role. Emphasis is on acknowledging how forests’ idiosyncrasies affect the design of markets for sequestered carbon. Chapters range from the role of forests in providing biofuels and biodiversity, to measuring and valuing their stored carbon.

Chapter 2: Forestry in the Kyoto Protocol

Colin A.G. Hunt

Subjects: environment, climate change, ecological economics, environmental geography, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy


The aim of the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and all related agreements is to ‘[A]chieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’ (UNFCCC, 1992, Article 2). The atmosphere can be characterized as an unmanaged commons; unmanaged in a sense that for all of history, until the Kyoto Protocol (United Nations, 1998) under the UNFCCC entered into force in February 2005, there was no control over greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to the atmosphere. The UNFCCC was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the signatories agreeing that the greater responsibility for reducing GHG emissions in the near term rested with the developed/ industrialized nations, listed in Annex I of the Convention (UNFCCC, 1992). The Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC was adopted at Conference of the Parties (COP) 3, in December 1997, in Kyoto. Most industrialized countries and some central European economies in transition (defined as Annex B countries) agreed to legally binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2008–2012. The reduction commitment of each country is listed in Annex B of the Protocol (United Nations, 1998). The Protocol has immense significance in that it is recognition by most countries that there is no effective way to manage the global commons other than by capping global emissions. At the close of 2008 the US...

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