Carbon Sinks

Eighteen percent of global emissions come from land-use changes—a greater share than either global transport or the industrial sector. Most of this is due to deforestation. Addressing greenhouse gas sinks—including potential credits for afforestation, reforestion and avoided deforestation—should be a component of future climate agreements. Improving science and measurement of above-ground and below ground stocks of carbon is an integral part of this process.

It is the treatment of avoided deforestation that is likely to prove most contentious. According to some analysts, credits for avoided deforestation could destabilize carbon markets if not coupled with sharply increased emissions reduction targets. The Stern Review called for large-scale pilot schemes, combining national actions with international compensation, to encourage forest protection and biodiversity conservation. With increasing emphasis on growing biofuels for transport, there will be increasing pressure to convert remaining forests to other uses.

Questions for GLCA:

-Would it be politically feasible for the international community to pay “compensation” to keep existing forests in today’s developing countries in their pristine condition? If not, what other incentives or support be provided to developing countries?

-Should a new regime include a price or limit on emissions from land-use changes?

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