Deforestation and Climate Change

Deforestation and Climate Change

Reducing Carbon Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development

Edited by Valentina Bosetti and Ruben Lubowski

Deforestation and forest degradation have long been recognized as environmental problems, with concerns over conservation of natural habitats and biological diversity capturing both scientific and public attention. More recently, the debate over tropical forest conservation has radically shifted to the approximately fifteen percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by deforestation and forest degradation, and to the potential synergies from integrating forest management with climate change policies.

Chapter 2: From The Hague to Copenhagen: Why it Failed Then and Why it Could be Different

Federica Bietta

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, climate change, environmental economics


Federica Bietta 2.1 THE KYOTO DILEMMA The Kyoto Protocol (KP) includes compensatory measures for industrialized countries that address deforestation within their borders, although the treaty actually denies similar benefits for developing nations that reduce deforestation. The inclusion of land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) under the KP was very controversial and difficult to negotiate because of the challenge in separating greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes directly induced by humans from those due to natural causes and indirectly induced by humans. Uncertainties about the magnitude of the subject also posed a challenge for negotiations. However, considering the sheer magnitude of emissions from the forestry sector, these were challenges that demanded resolution. Indeed, the KP mechanism is based on a reference level of emissions from which an assigned amount of allowed emissions (credits) in a commitment period is calculated. The total amount of emissions accounted for during the commitment period is then offset by means of the assigned credits. As a result, in practice, GHG balances below the reference level are credited while balances above the reference level are debited. The inability to separate direct human-induced net emissions from those naturally and indirectly induced by humans was an argument for not including the LULUCF sector in the assigned amount calculation, the exception being deforestation which is, by definition, directly due to human actions. The high level of uncertainty was a basis for not including the LULUCF emissions as part of the so-called ‘basket approach’, based on the claim that it was difficult...

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