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A Robust Manual On Climate Policy

Updated: October 23, 2010 3:35 pm

Climate change is one of the most significant global challenges of our time, and addressing it requires the urgent formulation of comprehensive and effective policy responses. The global climate change problem has finally entered the world’s consciousness. While efforts to find a solution have increased momentum, international attention has focussed primarily on the industrial and energy sectors. The forest, and land-use sector, however, remains one of the most significant untapped opportunities for carbon mitigation. The expiration of the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period in 2012 presents an opportunity for the international community to put this sector back on the agenda.

                In this backdrop, the book, comprising of five parts containing 19 chapters, is an excellent and timely work. In this timely, wide-ranging book, an international team of experts explains the links between climate change and forests, highlighting the potential utility of this sector within emerging climate policy frameworks and carbon markets. In one chapter, it has been explained that deforestation is one of the underlying causes of current levels of atmospheric CO2 concentration. It has been estimated that about 40 per cent of CO2 emissions over the last 200 years have been from changes in land use and land management, most of which have been deforestation. In another chapter, it has been pointed out that despite the negative effects of deforestation, mitigation of emissions of green-house gases (GHGs) from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries was not adequately addressed in the Kyoto Protocol. The solution found in Kyoto was based on a partial accounting framework that probably was the best that could have been achieved in 1997 but remains unsatisfactory in the longer run. Despite its inconsistencies, the system devised in Kyoto rewards carbon emission reductions and removals in industrial countries. On the other hand, the decision not to permit “avoided deforestation” as a project class under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) leaves the largest source of GHG emissions in many developing countries unaddressed.

                It is essential that a post-Kyoto agreement address this gap and include policy and economic incentives to reduce further emissions from deforestation.

                After framing forestry activities within the larger context of climate change policy, the contributors analyse the operation and efficacy of market-based mechanisms for forest conservation and climate change. Drawing on experiences from around the world, the authors present concrete recommendations for policymakers, project developers, and market participants. They discuss sequestration rights in Chile, carbon offset programmes in Australia and New Zealand, and emerging policy incentives at all levels of the US government. The book also explores the different voluntary schemes for carbon crediting, provides an overview of best practices in carbon accounting, and presents tools for use in future sequestration and offset programmes. It concludes with consideration of various incentive options for slowing deforestation and protecting the world’s remaining forests.

                The book provides a realistic view of the role that the forest and land-use sector can play in a post-Kyoto regime. It will serve as a practical reference manual for anyone concerned about climate policy, including the negotiators working to define a robust and enduring international framework for addressing the climate change.

Concept Publishing Company, A/15-16, Commercial Block, Mohan Garden, New Delhi-110059

By Ashok Kumar

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