Carbon Sinks and Climate Change
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Carbon Sinks and Climate Change

Forests in the Fight Against Global Warming

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.
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Chapter 3: Forestry in Voluntary Carbon Markets

Colin A.G. Hunt


Only a small proportion of the potential of forestry to mitigate climate change is being realized (Nabuurs et al., 2007; Capoor and Ambrosi, 2008). The realization of this potential is dependent on the inclusion of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions by forestry in global and national markets for greenhouse gas reductions. The previous chapters examined the role of forestry in national and global regulated markets; this chapter analyzes the role of forestry in voluntary markets. The benefit of reforestation, in terms of climate change mitigation, is the difference between carbon (C) bio-sequestered with the forestry project and without the project. The global markets are in terms of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), rather than in C, and 1 tonne of C 5 3.67 tonnes of CO2e, where CO2e is the expression of the global warming potential of GHGs in terms of their equivalence with CO2 (IPCC, 2007: Table 2.14, p. 212). The global market for offsets in 2007, in terms of volume and value, was double that in 2006, and worth $64 billion; the volume of voluntary offsets within the total market in 2007 was only 2.2 percent and their value only 0.55 percent, but grew even more rapidly; fourfold in volume and threefold in value (see Table 3.1). Unlike the regulated markets, where emitters have a monetary incentive to offset rather than abate emissions, or where forestry developers have an incentive to generate emission allowances for sale, the voluntary market does not rely on legally mandated reductions to...

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