Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry

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5.4.6. Reporting

The purpose of reporting is to provide information about a project's measured GHG and non-GHG benefits to government and/or intergovernmental entities, so that they can establish GHG credits that might be used for offsetting an Annex I country's commitments during the budget period (see Chapter 6). Reporting guidelines for each of the Kyoto Protocol's flexibility mechanisms are to be developed by the COP. This section discusses the types of data that may be required for reporting, as well as issues relating to multiple reporting of project activities.

The UNFCCC's Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) developed a Uniform Reporting Format (URF) for activities implemented jointly under a pilot program. The format was approved by SBSTA as part of the implementation of the UNFCCC (UNFCCC, 1997). In completing the URF, project proposers are to estimate the projected emissions for their without-project baseline scenario and with-project activity scenario. They are to estimate cumulative effects for carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and other GHGs. The URF also contains a section on environmental and socioeconomic benefits. Project developers are to describe how their project is compatible with and supportive of national economic development and socioeconomic and environmental priorities and strategies. Furthermore, the URF requests information on "practical experience gained or technical difficulties, effects, impacts or other obstacles encountered." As of October 1998, 95 AIJ projects had reported the foregoing information using the URF format (UNFCCC, 1999a). Other programs, such as the USIJI, have reporting requirements as well.

Proposed improvements to the URF format (Vine et al., 1999) include basic project contact information; a description of the project; projected and actual changes in carbon stock; net changes in carbon stock; information on the precision of results; data collection and analysis methods used in calculating changes in carbon stock; estimates of project leakage (negative and positive); and market transformation (where calculated). Finally, information on environmental and socioeconomic impacts and an indication of whether there is consistency between environmental laws, environmental impact statements, and expected environmental impacts could be included.

Unlike projects in other sectors, the time period over which reporting needs to occur will depend on the method chosen for accounting of carbon stocks of a project. The project developer or some other organization will need to be designated to report on changes in the carbon stock, should the accounting method require continued monitoring and verification after the end of the project. Governments may need to establish a procedure and set rules for post-project reporting, if needed.

Several types of reporting might occur in forestry projects: The impacts of a particular project could be reported at the project and/or program level (where a program consists of two or more projects); the impacts of a particular project could be reported at the project level and at the entity level (e.g., a utility company reports on the impacts of all of its projects); and the impacts of a particular project could be reported by two or more organizations or by two or more countries as part of a joint venture (partnership). To reduce any problems that might occur in multiple reporting, project-level reporters would need to indicate whether other entities might be reporting on the same activity and, if so, who. Establishment of a clearinghouse with an inventory of stakeholders and projects might solve this problem. For example, in comments on an international emissions trading regime, Canada (on behalf of Australia, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the United States) has proposed a national recording system to record ownership and transfers of assigned amount units (i.e., carbon offsets) at the national level (UNFCCC, 1998). A project synthesis report could confirm, at an aggregate level, that bookkeeping was correct, reducing the possibility of discrepancies among Parties' reports on emissions trading activity.

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