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Should We Include Avoidance of
Deforestation in the International Response to Climate Change?

Bernhard Schlamadinger, Lorenzo Ciccarese, Michael Dutschke, Philip M. Fearnside, Sandra Brown, Daniel Murdiyarso.

The compensated reduction proposal
At a COP9 side event, Santilli et al. (2003a) presented a new proposal to include deforestation avoidance in tropical countries under the KP. The proposal labelled “compensated reduction” includes as its main element a voluntary national deforestation stabilization and reduction target for non-Annex I countries such as Brazil or Indonesia. Its objective is to encourage conservation policies. If these policies prove successful by the end of the fi rst commitment period, the respective carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions, once monitored and verifi ed, can be sold to industrialized countries after the end of the first commitment period at the carbon market prices prevailing at that time (Santilli et al. 2003b).The proposed baseline for Brazil would be the average emissions from deforestation during the 1980s (Santilli et al., 2003a), or the 1990s (Santilli et al. 2003b). For other countries, other baseline periods might be adequate. Who would be the buyers of these credits? While one paper talks of “governments or private investors” (Santilli et al. 2003b), the other one stresses that “…this would not be a market mechanism like the CDM […], but an agreement between governments” (Santilli et al. 2003b).

Avoidance of Deforestation


Even in this latter case, the authors see these credits as being transferred through international emissions trading markets. Voluntary markets are emerging and other ecosystem services such as biodiversity values may be bundled. Emission credits may not be the primary objective as private sectors are also eager to build their image to society. In addition, public funding, although relatively small has yet to be mobilized. No substantial efforts have been made regarding the Special Climate Change Fund and the Adaptation Fund under the UNFCCC managed by the Global Environment Facility.

Avoidance of Deforestation

The host country would adhere to a binding, sectoral emission-limitation target by agreeing not to increase or further reduce deforestation-related emissions in the future. Obviously any increase in GHG emissions above the target would reverse credits already sold to Annex I countries, and thus result in non-compliance with this voluntary, but once agreed, binding emission-limitation target. The proposal was cautiously supported by representatives of the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment at the COP9 side event, which is significant because Brazil had opposed the inclusion of deforestation avoidance in previous negotiating sessions. The proposal re-opened the debate about the inclusion of deforestation avoidance among the possible measures for reaching KP targets by Annex I countries.

The “compensated reduction proposal” is similar to the way deforestation is addressed in the case of Australia (an Annex I country) under Articles 3.3 and 3.7 of the Protocol, based on “net-net accounting.” In this approach, the emissions from deforestation in the commitment period are compared to those in 1990, and any reduction in deforestation emissions will bring the country closer to compliance with its Kyoto targets.

Avoidance of Deforestation Avoidance of Deforestation

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Source: Proceedings of Workshop on Carbon Sequestration and Sustainable Livelihoods
Editors :
Daniel Murdiyarso
Hety Herawati

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