DURBAN DISASTER ON FORESTRY AND LAND USE EMISSIONS FROM DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
Saturday December 10, 2011
Despite the big Durban deal currently being struck for continuation of legally binding carbon cuts and a roadmap to extend these globally from 2020, the decision on forestry and land uses in developed countries is looking disastrous for the climate.
Even though environmental organisations had made a strong push over several years, and better proposals were on the table, logging and converting natural forests to plantations will escape rigorous accounting for their emissions.
Although reducing the substantial emissions from drainage of peatlands was finally addressed, only a weak agreement came forward, making accounting for such emissions only voluntary.
Forestry and peatland drainage each contribute about half a billion tons of emissions each year in developed countries, a total of one billion tons that will be largely unaccounted for.
“Instead of being a billion tonne a year problem, improved forest and land use in developed countries could be playing a really positive role in reducing emissions,” said Alistair Graham of Humane Society International. “Durban is a big setback for environmentally responsible land use but the fight is not over.”
“The LULUCF (Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry) sector has become the notorious rotten apple in the Kyoto Protocol basket”, said Peg Putt of the Ecosystems Climate Alliance. “It is now imperative that the intervening time before a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol begins is used to upgrade these deficient rules.”
“All significant sources of emissions from land and forests must be mandatorily accounted for, so the sector can play its fair share in climate protection,” said Susanna Tol of Wetlands International.