Legal and Policy Challenges for the World Economy
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson, Yves Le Bouthillier, Heather McLeod-Kilmurray and Stepan Wood
Chapter 8: The Role of Marine ‘Forests’ and Soils as Carbon Sinks: Enhanced Bio-Sequestration as a Mitigation Strategy to Help Avoid Dangerous Climate Change
Robert Fowler* INTRODUCTION 1. One of the most critical questions facing humanity today is: ‘What will it take to avoid dangerous climate change’?1 This question is at the forefront of negotiations currently being undertaken by the international community concerning a new intentional regime with respect to climate change. The adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change2 (UNFCCC 1992) in 1992 was a tentative first step towards the development of comprehensive and effective strategies to combat climate change. As a ‘framework’ Convention, it inevitably avoided specific targets. The Kyoto Protocol represented a significant step forward, by establishing initial targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions by some 39 countries listed in Annex 1 to the UNFCCC.3 But these targets were never envisaged to address climate change fully; rather, they were developed as an interim measure that it was hoped would result in the reduction of global CO2 emissions by 5 per cent from their 1990 levels by 2012. At the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCC in Bali, Indonesia in December 2007, an Action Plan was agreed with the aim of developing a ‘post-Kyoto’ agreement at the 15th COP in Copenhagen in December 2009. The principal objective of this agreement, according to the Bali Action Plan, would be to establish a ‘shared vision for long-term cooperative action, including a long-term global goal for emissions reductions, to achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention’ (UNFCCCa, 2008). Thus, the negotiation process leading to Copenhagen has two...
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