This section describes alternative structures for the accounting of GHG emissions by sources and removals by sinks from LULUCF activities. Policy questions that the Parties may wish to address in defining the accounting system are introduced, and illustrative accounting rules for LULUCF activities under the Protocol are presented and compared. Subsequent sections elaborate on options for addressing the key accounting questions.
Any accounting system for LULUCF activities under the Kyoto Protocol must address three fundamental questions:
The Kyoto Protocol identifies the following categories of possible activities:
A carbon accounting system developed for the Kyoto Protocol must adhere to the basic scientific principles of carbon processes and the institutional terms and objectives of the UNFCCC. Two accounting approaches are discussed here that may meet these requirements. The Parties could decide to adopt either one of these approaches, or some combination of the two.
The first approach to accounting is land-based. Its starting point is the total carbon stock change in applicable carbon pools on land units subject to Kyoto activities. Implementing this rule involves first identifying land units on which applicable activities occur. Next, the total change in carbon stocks on these land units during the commitment period is determined. Adjustments can then be made to reflect decisions that the Parties may adopt regarding baselines, leakage, and timing issues, as discussed in the following sections. Aggregate emissions or removals are the sum of stock changes (net of adjustments) over all applicable land units.
The second approach is activity-based. Its starting point is the carbon stock change attributable to designated LULUCF activities. First, each applicable activity's impact on carbon stocks is determined per unit area. This impact is multiplied by the area on which each activity occurs. This equation may also include adjustments to reflect policy decisions by the Parties. Aggregate emissions or removals are calculated by summing across applicable activities. Potentially, a given area of land could be counted more than once if it is subject to multiple activities. This potential double-counting could result in inaccurate accounting if the effects of activities are not additive. Alternatively, the Parties could decide that each land unit could contain no more than one activity. In this case, the combined impact of multiple practices applied in the same area would be considered a single activity.
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