LULUCF policies and measures undertaken to reduce GHG emissions have significant
potential to have positive or negative impacts on environmental and sustainable
development objectives that are a central focus of other multilateral environmental
agreements (MEAs). Key categories of potential impact and corresponding principal
MEAs include biological diversity (UN Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD),
desertification (UN Convention to Combat Desertification, CCD), and wetlands
(Ramsar Convention on Wetlands). In addition, a broad range of issues relating
to conservation, management, and sustainable development of forests were the
focus of recently completed policy dialogues of the Intergovernmental Forum
on Forests (IFF); IFF conclusions and associated proposals for actions will
be taken up by the UNCSD (IISD, 2000).
The Parties may need to determine whether and how to ensure that LULUCF definitions, activities, and projects under the Protocol are consistent with the goals and objectives of relevant MEAs. The foundation for such a decision has been laid by the recent SBSTA request that the UNFCCC Secretariat liase with the Secretariats of the CBD and the CCD; with the IFF; and with other international bodies of the United Nations, such as FAO. Relevant ecosystem protection components of the UNFCCC objectives are identified by Article 4, paragraphs 1(d), 1(e), and 8 and by Article 2.3 of the Kyoto Protocol.
There currently is no recognized set of indicators that could be used to assess the consistency of prospective LULUCF climate mitigation measures with the goals and objectives of other multilateral environmental agreements and processes. Despite this limitation, the Parties may need to decide whether and how to take steps to ensure that LULUCF definitions, activities, and projects are operationalized in a manner that is consistent with and synergistically supportive of them.
Brown (1998) proposes that there should be opportunities for LULUCF measures to support the objectives of multiple MEAs-for example, by identifying opportunities to slow deforestation in areas that are high in biodiversity and contain large carbon stores, by rehabilitating degraded rangelands, and by planting windbreaks to sequester carbon and reverse desertification. Indeed, many potential LULUCF measures could support carbon mitigation and help protect biodiversity, slow desertification, or support other environmental objectives (Sections 2.5.1 and 5.5). For potential LULUCF projects, the Parties may wish to consider whether the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is positioned to help non-Annex I countries develop and support projects that meet the objectives of multiple MEAs (GEF, 2000).
Some authors have pointed out that some potential LULUCF definitions, activities, and projects-such as those that support conversion of natural forests to plantations-might be considered inconsistent with the objectives of one or more MEAs (e.g., UNU, GEIC, and UNU/IAS, 1998). Similar arguments could be advanced for measures that expand plantations on native woodlands or grasslands or drain wetlands.
If the Parties wish to eliminate or otherwise restrict these activities from emissions reduction crediting, one option would be to consider the addition of limiting clauses on credits, such as that proposed in Chapter 3 to limit reforestation credits. Translating non-carbon environmental and socioeconomic concerns into quantitative limits on carbon credits may prove difficult, however. Alternatively, policymakers could develop a screening process to determine whether certain activities will receive carbon credit at all. Implementation of such a screening process for activities at the national level might present several challenges and complexities because of their broad geographic scope.
Several types of LULUCF climate mitigation projects also have the potential for negative impacts on native ecosystems, including forests, woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands (see Section 5.5). Brown et al. (1998) and Hardner et al. (2000) propose eliminating such projects through the application of environmental screens prior to project approval. Hardner et al. (2000) propose a filter for project approval that excludes from crediting any LULUCF project activities that convert native ecosystems to other land uses. The risk of negative environmental (and social) impacts of LULUCF projects might also be reduced through the application of sound environmental and social impact assessment methodologies (Section 188.8.131.52).
In the specific case of reforestation projects in non-Annex I countries, some observers have expressed concern that crediting of such projects could promote expansion of plantations that replace natural forests whose associated emissions would not be constrained by a national commitment (German Advisory Council on Global Change, 1998). Currently, the expansion of industrial plantations is a significant driver of natural forest loss in some regions (Potter and Lee, 1998). The Parties might choose to constrain such projects through the application of the Deforestation-Reforestation Rule proposed in Chapter 3 to projects in non-Annex I countries. Such projects could be further constrained through sound environmental and social screens prior to project approval (Brown et al., 1998).
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