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Memorias de la Reunión latinoamericana sobre «Los bosques y la mitigación del cambio climático»

La Reunión latinoamericana sobre «Los bosques y la mitigación del cambio climático» fue realizada en Santa Cruz, Bolivia, los días 14 y 15 de agosto de 2000, en el contexto de la Convención Marco sobre Cambio Climático (CMCC).

Los objetivos de esta reunión, en la que participaron representantes de 12 países latinoamericanos, invitados de Estados Unidos y Australia, expertos internacionales y observadores bolivianos, fueron los siguientes:

· analizar la posición de los diferentes países de la región en relación al Informe especial del Grupo Intergubernamental de Expertos sobre Cambios Climáticos (IPCC) sobre el «uso del suelo, cambio de uso del suelo y actividades forestales» (LULUCF: Land use, land use change and forestry);

· analizar la posible inclusión de los bosques dentro de las alternativas de proyectos a ser implementados bajo el «mecanismo para un desarrollo limpio» (MDL); y

· analizar las diversas posiciones sobre la posible inclusión de los bosques bajo el MDL.

El encuentro constituyó una excelente ocasión para el intercambio de posiciones, argumentos y puntos de vista por parte de los países de la región sobre los diversos aspectos relacionados con el LULUCF y su contribución a la mitigación del cambio climático. También permitió manifestar las incertidumbres de los países en relación al tema del MDL y su potencial incorporación al mismo. A este propósito se propuso la realización de otra reunión regional en Santiago de Chile, con el apoyo del Gobierno de ese país y de la Oficina Regional de la FAO.

Entre los resultados obtenidos cabe señalar importantes aportes técnicos que podrán ser utilizados en las negociaciones que sobre el LULUCF se están llevando a cabo durante el presente año en las distintas reuniones de la CMCC: Conferencia de las Partes (COP-6) y del Órgano Subsidiario de Asesoramiento Científico y Tecnológico (SBSTA 13). Además se produjeron materiales para la 21a Reunión de la Comisión Forestal para América Latina y el Caribe (COFLAC), que tuvo lugar en septiembre de 2000.

La reunión mostró también la necesidad de contar con oportunidades de encuentro para la discusión regional sobre el tema, a fin de impulsar el intercambio horizontal de conocimientos, experiencias y la transferencia de tecnologías que se están desarrollando en los diferentes países de la región. A tal efecto, se recomendó que a través de la FAO, se genere un ámbito de discusión a largo plazo en la región latinoamericana acerca de los aspectos relacionados con el LULUCF, a fin de mejorar el entendimiento de la temática y, sobre todo, apoyar la participación adecuada de los países en las reuniones de la CMCC y en las de sus órganos subsidiarios.

Además, la reunión permitió observar que las posiciones en relación a las definiciones sobre Aforestación, Reforestación y Deforestación (ARD), específicamente sobre el artículo 3.3 de la Convención, son coincidentes entre la mayoría de los países participantes, restando algunas diferencias en relación a la definición de bosque.

(Fuente: Breve síntesis elaborada por el Ing. Gisela Ulloa Vargas, Consultora de la FAO)

Para más información, dirigirse a:
Proyecto de la FAO de Apoyo a la Coordinación e Implementación del Plan de Acción Forestal para Bolivia,

GCP/BOL/028/NET,

Edif. EX COMIBOL, 4° piso, Oficina 403, La Paz, Bolivia

Fax: + 591 2 - 330679

correo electrónico: faopaf@caoba.entelnet.bo



Bibliographies

Greenhouse gas balances

The new electronic edition of the bibliography Greenhouse gas balances of bioenergy, forestry, wood products, land use and land-use change, containing existing publications, unpublished reports and databases, has been completed and contains approximately 1 000 entries in more than 600 pages. This bibliography includes not only literature with reference to bioenergy and "greenhouse gases", but also work that deals with greenhouse gases as they relate to land use (e.g. agriculture and forestry) and land-use change. The bibliography, with a full-text search facility, is available at: www.joanneum.ac.at/iea-bioenergy-task25 (Source: IEA Bioenergy News, 11[2].)

Climate change

The latest version of the Pacific Institute's on-line bibliography on climate change (defined here as global warming or ozone depletion) impacts on biodiversity is now available, with more than 400 citations added since the last instalment was posted in August 2000. The bibliography includes citations culled from peer-reviewed and grey literature (including journal articles, newspaper articles, reports and materials on the Internet) and is searchable and downloadable in PDF format. The bibliography, which will continue to be updated every two months, can be found at: www.pacinst.org/wildlife.html (Source: Forest Information Update [FIU], 13 November 2000.)

For more information, please contact:wburns@pacinst.org



Carbon sequestration in forests - ten most frequently asked questions

The number of publications on carbon sequestration in forests is overwhelming. In spite of this, however, there is still much confusion, especially now with the many discussions taking place concerning the implications of the Kyoto Protocol. A recent issue of EFI News tries to clarify this situation by answering the following ten most frequently asked questions.

1. How does the principle of carbon sequestration in forests work?
2. Is it not true that after a while the carbon is released again, undoing the sequestration process?3. How much carbon do forests in Europe store?
4. Is the contribution of forests in mitigating climate change really minimal?
5. How many trees must I plant to compensate for my car use?
6. Is it wiser to invest in forestry projects in the tropics?
7. Should I stop managing my forest, or continue the regular management?
8. Is it better to invest in a bioenergy short-rotation plantation or in a long-rotation forest type?
9. Do I, as a forest owner, benefit from all of this?
10. What is a "Kyoto forest"?

EFI's answers to two of these questions follow - the remaining answers will be given in future issues of Forest Energy Forum.

How does the principle of carbon sequestration in forests work?

Plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2 contains a 12/44 proportion of carbon) from the air. With energy from sunlight, this carbon is converted into sugars (gross primary production). Part of these sugars is used for maintenance (respiration), but the other part is used for the growth of plant organs (net primary production). Only a small part of this growth remains as plant tissue for any length of time, because the major part of the net primary production consists of litterfall (dead plant material and its renewal). However, the process of net growth in trees can continue for a long period. Forests are thus the most effective land use types in this context, because a large amount of carbon is withdrawn from the atmosphere for a long time.

Is it not true that after a while the carbon is released again, undoing the sequestration process?

In the long term, the biomass in forests is indeed in equilibrium if the forest is not disturbed by, for example, a fire, insect or fungal damage, or harvesting. In an unmanaged forest, the trees will die and the carbon will be released; in a managed forest, trees are harvested and carbon is released through product oxidation. It is also true that carbon is being continuously exchanged between forest, soil, products and atmosphere, but a certain amount of carbon is always stored. Carbon is cycling within the system. This situation differs from that of fossil fuels, where their use and burning results in a one-way flux of carbon into the atmosphere.

(Source: EFI News, June 2000.)



For more information, please contact:

European Forest Institute (EFI), Torikatu 34, FIN-80100 Joensuu, Finland.

Fax: +358 (0)13 124 393;

e-mail: efisec@efi.fi

www.efi.fi



Forest and land-use change carbon sequestration projects

Early carbon sequestration projects were primarily bilateral agreements between a single investor seeking to offset its greenhouse gas emissions and an implementing agency. Perhaps in response to concerns about risk of failure, more recent projects have moved away from bilateral agreements to either investor pools or project portfolios. An example is the RUSAFOR Afforestation Project-Saratov in the Russian Federation.

The biological, operational and institutional opportunities to manage a Russian forest as a carbon sink will be evaluated in the Saratov Oblast region, 700 km southeast of Moscow. Representatives from the Russian Federal Forest Service (RFFS) and Oregon State University (OSU), working under a Cooperative Agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), negotiated this pilot project in the Russian Federation. The RUSAFOR project will explore how such projects can be organized and managed and how the sequestered carbon can be credited. The project has many goals, including assessing the value of forest management projects as greenhouse gas mitigation projects; identifying barriers to private investment in Russian forestry and ways of overcoming them; assisting Russian partners to establish forest plantations; and sharing information that quantifies the project's biological, economic and institutional benefits.

The project, which is coordinated by EPA and implemented through cooperative agreements with the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) and Oregon State University, aims at afforesting 420 ha of agricultural wasteland. The land currently has an average biomass of 8 tonnes/ha; through the project, however, average biomass will peak at about 269 tonnes/ha. (Source: www.wri.org/wri/climate/sequester.html)

CARBON STOCKS, FLUXES, SINKS AND SOURCES

Carbon stock is the storage of carbon in trees, ground vegetation, soil or products, usually expressed in tonnes of carbon/hectare.

Carbon flux
is the flow of carbon between the stocks or the atmosphere.

Carbon sink
means that the net flux of carbon goes into the system from the atmosphere.


Carbon source
means that the net flux of carbon goes from the system into the atmosphere.

(Source: EFI News, June 2000.)

German paper industry's position on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

Germany is Europe's largest paper market and also its largest paper manufacturer. Thus, the paper industry is an important contributor towards greenhouse gas emissions.

The German pulp and paper industry embraces the goal of the Federal government to reduce CO2 emissions. The industry is prepared to optimize the efficiency of the energy input and to make its contribution to reducing CO2 emissions resulting from fossil fuels. Owing to the high proportion of energy costs in the production of paper and board, the German pulp and paper industry has consistently pursued the aim of lowering the specific energy input over the past decades.

The German Pulp and Paper Association declares that it will urge its member companies to reduce the specific carbon dioxide emissions of pulp and paper mills resulting from the use of fossil fuels and external electricity. The stated objective of the former Federal states is a reduction in the specific carbon dioxide emissions by 22 percent of their 1987 levels by the year 2005. This is expected to lower the specific energy input by 20 percent.

Using the energy savings potential in the new Federal states, the objective for the whole of Germany is to reduce the specific carbon dioxide emissions by 22 percent of their 1990 levels by the year 2005. The measures required to accomplish this objective are expected to yield a decrease in the specific energy input by 20 percent over the same period.

(Source: Declaration of the German pulp and paper industry on the reduction of the specific carbon dioxide emissions from the use of fossil fuels. 1996 update.)


For more information, please contact:

Verband Deutscher Papierfabriken e.V., Adenauerallee 55, D-53113 Bonn, Germany.

Fax: +49 228 2 67 05 62;

e-mail: VDP.Bonn@vdp-online.de

www.vdp-online.de


Global warming could fundamentally transform a third of the world's plant and animal habitats by the end of this century, threatening many species with rapid extinction, an international conservation organization warned. In a new report, researchers for the World Wide Fund for Nature - known as the World Wildlife Fund in the United States and Canada - singled out the Arctic and northern latitudes as the most vulnerable to the changing climate. They estimated 20 percent of the species there could die out as a result of the shrinking habitat. The report raises the spectre of a tundra denuded of its walrus and polar bear populations and a New England stripped of its spruce and fir forests if the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere is not reduced. (Source: AP press release.)



Prima Klima - el hombre y el árbol en CO2-operación

Prima Klima es una organización sin fines de lucro que financia y promueve proyectos de reforestación y cuidado de bosques en todo el mundo, como contribución para reducir el problema del efecto de invernadero.

El concepto se basa en un hecho que tiene millones de años y es sumamente eficaz: árboles y bosques son depósitos importantes de carbono y contribuyen al equilibrio ecológico de la atmósfera. Por ejemplo, una hectárea de bosque en Europa Central absorbe cada año 10 toneladas de dióxido de carbono (CO2) de la atmósfera, liberando en cambio oxígeno, que es el sostén de la vida. Es decir, mientras crezca y se conserve el bosque, el gas de efecto invernadero, el CO2, no puede hacerle daño al clima.
La fotosíntesis, en sentido físico-químico, es justamente la inversión del proceso de combustión: por la combustión nace el CO2, que luego es absorbido desde la atmósfera por las plantas mediante la fotosíntesis. A través de Prima Klima, año tras año, a un costo de 100 marcos por tonelada, grandes cantidades de CO2 son neutralizadas por medio de árboles. Prima Klima coopera con organizaciones nacionales e internacionales acreditadas, que se encargan del cuidado y control de los bosques plantados.

Prima Klima ya ha podido reforestar y proteger más de 50 000 hectáreas de bosque en todo el mundo, y de esas, 1 000 en Alemania. Hasta la fecha ha obtenido donaciones por 4,5 millones marcos y/o acuerdos para poblar la tierra con árboles.

La organización fue fundada en el año 1991 como asociación registrada en la jurisdicción de Düsseldorf y con fines de utilidad pública. Las donaciones que recibe son por ello deducibles de los impuestos. El prestigio de Prima Klima a nivel internacional se puede comprobar por el acuerdo suscrito con la UE para realizar un programa de investigación, así como por su rol de asesor del Gobierno de Alemania para la implementación de programas desarrollados bajo el Protocolo de Kyoto. Además, ha desarrollado más de 40 proyectos forestales en todo el mundo, utilizando en su gran mayoría especies nativas.

Prima Klima, cuyo lema es: «Quien es parte del problema, debe ser también parte de la solución!», se dirige a todo aquel que emita CO2, es decir a cada uno nosotros: individuos, empresas, municipios, provincias y países. A cada una de ellos se dirige con este mensaje: ahorrar energía (es decir favorecer la energía solar) y plantar árboles. En definitiva, promueve una conducta que lleve al equilibrio en el balance del CO2 ;una conducta que es posible para todos: empresarios, administración pública y particulares.

Los bosques tienen efectos muy positivos para el ambiente como reservorios de agua y mecanismos naturales de depuración; como protectores contra la erosión, aluviones y viento; como filtros del aire y para amortiguar el ruido; como espacio vital de especies y plantas que están en peligro; como fuente de alimento y de ingresos para la población rural, etc. Arboles y bosques tienen, además, valor especial para las personas que necesitan reposo. En fin, encontramos los árboles en el arte, la literatura y en el mito!

Prima Klima cuenta en su equipo técnico con prestigiosos investigadores de nivel internacional, y su Presidente, el Dr. K. P. Hasenkamp, ha sido distinguido recientemente con un Doctorado Honoris Causa por la Universidad de Munich, en reconocimiento a su labor en el terreno de la mitigación del cambio climático global originado por la acumulación de gases de efecto invernadero.

Para más información, dirigirse a:
Dr. Karl Peter Hasenkamp,

Prima Klima - weltweit - e. V. Ikenstr.,

1 B, 40625 Düsseldorf, Alemania

Fax: +49 - 211 - 29 13 682

correo electrónico:
prima-klima@user.ecore.net



Argentine environment groups oppose European Climate Change Tree Planting Project

The proposal of a German non-profit organization to plant a forest in Argentina has generated opposition in the South American country. It has become a test case of how successfully the mechanisms of the international climate agreement known as the Kyoto Protocol can be implemented to reduce global warming. Prima Klima, a non-governmental organization based in Düsseldorf, Germany, was formed in 1991 to contribute to the stabilization of worldwide carbon dioxide levels. Carbon dioxide, emitted by the burning of coal, oil and gasoline, is the major greenhouse gas linked to global warming.

Prima Klima plants trees in Germany and other countries to absorb carbon dioxide. Because trees take carbon dioxide from the air, transform it into biomass and release oxygen, forested areas are known as carbon sinks.

In Argentina, the controversial tree planting project covers an area of 125 000 ha in the province of Chubut, located in Argentinian Patagonia. The project involves conservation, ecotourism, forest management and tree planting in the region surrounding lakes La Plata and Fontana. It also covers use of a native tree, lenga, which has a high value in the international forest products market. The tree planting is proposed jointly by Prima Klima with the province of Chubut, and the tiny town of Alto Rio Senguer in which the project is located.

Other partners are the Patagonian Andes Forest Research and Extension Center (CIEFAP) and the federal agency that used to be the Secretary of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development, now part of the Ministry of Social Development and Environment.

The controversy centres on whether planting a forest as a carbon sink in the Southern Hemisphere is an environmentally sound solution to global warming, or just an inexpensive way for countries in the Northern Hemisphere, such as Germany, to achieve required emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol. The Clean Development Mechanism is one of three flexibility mechanisms authorized in the December 1997 Kyoto Protocol, an addition to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The protocol defines limits to the emission of six greenhouse gases for 39 industrialized nations including Germany. Once the protocol is ratified and comes into force, these countries must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels during the period 2008-2012.

The Prima Klima afforestation project is intended to work under the Clean Development Mechanism. It offers an opportunity of generating carbon tradable offsets, which will eventually be distributed between the province of Chubut and Prima Klima Foundation over a period of 50 years. Local Chubut environmental groups have opposed the project. They fear that it would increase demand for lenga wood, resulting in more logging of the native tree.

Greenpeace Argentina is fiercely opposing the Prima Klima project. "We do not want carbon sink projects as the only tool within the Clean Development Mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change", Greenpeace consultant Kristy Hamilton told journalists in Buenos Aires earlier this month. The project has received an initial investment of US$2.2 million over five years, according to figures quoted by Greenpeace.

But, according to Prima Klima, 40 percent of the forest projects it has completed are situated in Germany - in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxonia and Schleswig-Holstein. The group has conducted other afforestation projects in Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, the United States (Florida), Ecuador, Venezuela, the Congo, Uganda, South Africa, India and Viet Nam for a total of 800 ha planted to date. Almost all the trees planted in each country are native to the location in which they were placed. Juan Carlos Villalonga, Coordinator of the energy campaign of Greenpeace Argentina, points out that the Prima Klima project has not been approved by the Argentine Office of Joint Implementation which oversees projects proposed for emissions credits under the Kyoto Protocol.

At present, the law that backed the agreement of the parties involved in the project was declared unconstitutional in August by Judge Alejandro Javier Panizza in Sarmiento, Chubut. The judge made the ruling in a lawsuit brought by Chubut public defender Marcela Colombini.

Prima Klima has firm funding. Past donors have been municipalities, banks, service and production enterprises and private households, the group says, and further funding is assured for the next few years. It has carried out research under contract for the European Union and the German Environment Ministry. Prima Klima enjoys the backing of international groups, such as the 125-year-old United States organization, American Forests, a partner since 1991 in American Forests' Global Releaf programme. Prima Klima solicits project forest proposals from Global Releaf partners in various countries. Funds raised by Prima Klima are then channelled to the partner organizations which implement their own projects.

Prima Klima and its partners have regenerated or created about 500 km2 of new forest - an area equal to about 70 000 football fields. This forest surface will remove approximately 80 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere, the group claims. But the opposition of Argentine environmental groups may create a roadblock on the way to tree planting in Chubut that Prima Klima cannot surmount. (Source: Environment News Service, 21 September 2000; http://ens.lycos.com/ens/sep2000/2000L-09-21-02.html)



New Horizons in the Study of the Carbon Cycle

Although there has been a very considerable amount of work on all aspects of the carbon cycle, there has been relatively little open discussion of the uncertainties of these studies. A two-day international symposium, "New Horizons in the Study of the Carbon Cycle", was organized in Rome, Italy, on 24 and 25 October 2000, by the Italian Environmental Protection Agency in cooperation with three Italian Ministries (of the Environment, of Agriculture and Forestry Policies and of European Policies) and the International Union for Quaternary Research, with the following three objectives:

· to identify priorities in the research of the carbon cycle over the coming years;
· to discuss the major gaps and uncertainties in previous work in this area; and
· to offer policy-makers new insights in view of the coming sessions of the Kyoto Protocol application.

Wide-ranging aspects of the carbon cycle were covered, from the Quaternary carbon cycle to the carbon storage potential of forests, and from the ocean carbon cycle to carbon cycle, climate change and biodiversity. More than 20 scientists presented their areas of research, and frank and active discussion sessions followed.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Jonathan Adams, Department of Geographical and Environmental Studies, University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.
E-mail: jonathan.adams@adelaide.edu.au; or

jonathan.adams@netzero.net

or

Mr Lorenzo Ciccarese, ANPA Italian Environmental Protection Agency, Via Vitaliano Brancati 48, 00144 Rome, Italy.

Fax: +39 0650072834;

e-mail: ciccarese@anpa.it



The Overstory

A recent issue (No. 66) of the e-mail journal The Overstory was dedicated to carbon sequestration. Agroforestry systems can have a beneficial influence on the global climate - this issue discussed the way in which conserving soils and planting trees can slow or reverse the release of carbon into the atmosphere. The contents covered:

· Carbon sequestration: storing carbon in soils and vegetation
· What is the Greenhouse Effect?
· Carbon balance on agricultural lands
· Soil quality and global warming
· Agroforestry to sequester carbon
· Conclusion
· References
· Web links.

For more information, please contact:
The Overstory
, PO Box 428, Holualoa, HI 96725 USA.

Fax: +1 808 324 4129;

e-mail: par@agroforester.com

www.agroforester.com/overstory/osprev.html



Trade of certified emissions reduction: impacts on Uruguay

Uruguay is a South American country with an area of about 18 million ha and a population of approximately three million people. Historically a strong producer of moderate climate meat, wool and agricultural products, Uruguay is now also becoming important for fast-growing forests (principally eucalyptus, pines and poplars). The forestry plantations are situated in specially designated lands (from a productive and environmental point of view), without displacing native woods, and grow at a rate of 50 000 ha per year. It is estimated that in ten years forestry products could be the principal export. Uruguay has never been an industrial country, owing to the strong competition of its powerful neighbours (Brazil and Argentina).

A national inventory of greenhouse gases (GHG) has recently been undertaken. The results showed that Uruguay could became a carbon fix country with only minor modifications needed in the diet of animals (the principal GHG emitted from Uruguay is the methane produced by ruminants), land works to conserve the organic matter of the soil and improving the efficiency of nitrogen-fertilizers (to decrease N2O emissions).

If Uruguay were listed as a non-Annex A country, it could earn US$120 million to $200 million from emissions trading when the Kyoto Protocol enters into force.

Since the forestry plantations have minimal environmental impact (Uruguay is one of the few nations in the world where it is forbidden by law to cut down the natural woods) and the number of industries will not increase (at least in the medium term), the country could profit from emissions trading in a sustainable way.

Uruguay has more than 400 000 ha of forest plantations and more than 500 000 ha of natural forests that could be certified as carbon fixed forests, thus meeting the worldwide managed sustainability criteria.

(Contributed by: Dinorah Lorenzo and Pablo Reali, FORESUR G.I.E., I+D Department; INIA Uruguay, National Forestry Programme.)

For more information, please contact:
Dinorah Lorenzo, Demóstenes 3456, 11600 Montevideo, Uruguay.

E-mail: dipreali@adinet.com.uy ; or

Pablo Reali, Zabala 1276, 11000 Montevideo, Uruguay.

E-mail: foresur@adinet.com.uy



World Resources Institute and climate change

The World Resources Institute (WRI) provides information, ideas and solutions to global environmental problems. One of their research areas is climate change: identifying opportunities to reduce the risk of global climate change in ways that drive sustainable economic development worldwide.

Climate change is a global problem which, if unaddressed, could undermine progress on every aspect of human development and ecosystem protection, including built infrastructure, food production, biodiversity, human health, and the natural systems that support growing economies. Effective policies to prevent climate change, however, will set the world on a new course, one characterized by cleaner energy sources, healthier ecosystems and societies, technological innovation and economic opportunity.

WRI's core climate efforts are clustered around three strategies:

Engage the private sector: WRI's Climate Protection Initiative (CPI) works to accelerate the business community's acceptance of climate change as a real, manageable problem as well as to encourage innovative private sector solutions.

Developing country partnerships: WRI works to contribute to developing countries' effectiveness in negotiating and implementing the climate treaty by:

· reducing the energy and carbon intensity of their development paths to gain benefits from reduced local and regional air pollution and increased economic and energy efficiency; and

· capturing benefits of carbon sequestration, through sustainable forestry and agricultural practices.

Rules of the game: WRI identifies and promotes new rules of the game for financing sustainable development and for climate treaty implementation, particularly in the creation of innovative and effective policy mechanisms, such as emissions trading and the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

The Capacity For Climate project: the climate agreements and countries in transition

WRI's environmental governance projects involve collaboration among independent research organizations in developing and transition countries. The Capacity for Climate project disseminates information and promotes policy dialogue between governments and civil society in Central and Eastern Europe on opportunities for climate-friendly energy sector reform.

The project's primary goal is to influence the development choices currently being made by Annex I Economies In Transition (EITs) in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Newly Independent States (NIS). Specifically, WRI seeks to help these countries to: a) find less emission-intensive development paths; and b) create policy and institutional environments to support compliance with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.

In support of these overarching goals, the project has the following specific objectives:

· to strengthen the ability of Annex I EITs to provide more accurate and reliable environmental reports;

· to build a constituency for policy and institutional reform in Annex I EITs to meet the commitments and respond to the opportunities of the Climate Convention; and

· to build the infrastructure for more active participation by EIT countries in the global climate policy process.

WRI is undertaking this project in partnership with the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), an independent organization based in Budapest, Hungary, and a long-time collaborator under WRI's Policy Research Capacity Initiative.

Project background

Currently the economies of Annex I countries in transition are highly greenhouse gas-intensive. The Kyoto Protocol has created an opportunity for these countries to upgrade their infrastructure and achieve low-cost carbon emission reductions. The Protocol's "flexibility mechanisms" and ongoing energy sector reform give CEE and NIS countries the unique opportunity to adapt a sustainable development path. However, the commitments under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol also increase the urgency in these countries for greater capacity to:

· measure and report fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions;
· link ongoing restructuring to the UNFCCC objectives and Kyoto targets; and
· create a policy environment conducive to the implementation of flexibility mechanisms.

This urgency underscores the activities of the Capacity For Climate project. The window of opportunity for sustainable development paths and for compliance with the targets, monitoring and reporting requirements exists now, as these countries undergo reform and as the above requirements are being developed.

WRI seeks to influence the decisions currently being made by CEE and NIS governments in the energy sector and to create a policy and institutional environment to support implementation of "flexibility mechanisms".

WRI's regional approach seeks to provide information to all EITs in CEE and selected NIS countries. They expect this will increase understanding of the opportunities under the Climate Convention and will increase compliance with commitments. However, WRI's principal work is targeted towards five countries: Bulgaria, Poland, Slovenia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

For more information, please contact:
World Resources Institute, 10 G Street, NE (Suite 800), Washington, DC 20002, USA.

Fax +1 202 729 7610;

e-mail: governance@wri.org



Vanuatu and the Clean Development Mechanism

The Vanuatu Government has received support from the Australian Government through AusAID for consultants to undertake a study on the potential for using the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol for forestry. Only consultants from Australia or New Zealand are eligible to apply owing to the funding conditions. The purpose of this consultancy is to advise the Government of Vanuatu on CDM issues and investigate the potential benefits of the CDM for Vanuatu with particular reference to the forestry sector.

The main objectives of the consultancy are:

· to provide a set of options for various feasible positions for the Government of Vanuatu on CDM, covering at least acceptance and rejection of CDMs or variations of these, and outline the implications of each for Vanuatu.

· to assist Vanuatu to identify potential activities and projects that could be considered under the CDM; and

· to enhance Vanuatu's ability to participate in the CDM, if appropriate, through identification of capacity building needs and CDM projects.

(Source: Forest Information Update [FIU], 23 October 2000.)

For more information, please contact:
Mr Adam Gerrand, Principal Forest Officer, Department of Forests, Private Mail Bag 064, Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Fax: +678 25051;

e-mail: forestry@vanuatu.gov.vu; o
r
agerrand@vanuatu.com.vu



Verification of country-level carbon stocks and exchanges in non-Annex I countries

The FAO Interdepartmental Group on Climate, in collaboration with the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), organized a meeting in Rome from 27 to 29 September 2000 on the Verification of Country-level Carbon Stocks and Exchanges in Non-Annex I Countries. The meeting's discussions on this verification of carbon projects were structured around the following six sessions:

· General methodological and procedural issues
· The verification process
· Standards and criteria for verification of carbon stocks
· Land-use change and forestry issues (Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol), in particular afforestation, reforestation and deforestation
· Particular issues related to "other" land use, land-use change and forestry activities
· Options, experts' recommendations and identification of questions to be resolved.

Extracts from the main conclusions and recommendations made by the group of experts, who decided to focus on Clean Development Mechanism projects, follow.

1. Projects must generate enough environmental and societal value for stakeholders - in particular the people living in project areas - to derive clear benefits in terms of food security and sustainability of development.

2. At the project level, all carbon pools and all fluxes should be included in the verification and accounting. Only a holistic landscape-ecosystem approach has the potential to facilitate the understanding of carbon dynamics in projects as well as the much debated issues of carbon permanence, reversibility of sequestered carbon, leakage, baselines and the links between biomass and soil carbon storage.

3. The accounting system has to be simple. Process, spatial and temporal consistency in the method used is most important. At the same time, there is need for pragmatism to keep costs acceptable.

4. Together with the ecosystem approach and sustainability as a major project selection criterion, an ecoregional approach could simplify and improve the verification process.

5. A series of guidelines will be needed covering inter alia criteria for project selection, eligibility, additionality, baseline methodology, error propagation, etc.

6. To assist in project design it would be most desirable to establish (with FAO support) a global look-up table of actual and potential carbon sequestration rates by land use and activities on an ecoregional basis.

7. In addition to the general philosophy of the landscape-ecosystem and ecoregional approaches, the possible thematic contributions of FAO were identified (i.e. in forestry, agriculture, soils, etc.).

8. The experts discussed the potential of benchmark projects/sites in the validation of the operational (testing and validation) and societal aspects of the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. The Benchmark projects would be implemented jointly by FAO, other international organizations and bilateral partners.

9. Since the data available are currently collected primarily for purposes other than carbon accounting, there is a need to design and implement improved inventory systems. This includes more efficient remote sensing methods for data collection and for reliable verification of the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Benchmark sites would contribute to the development of a better data collection system and play a role in reducing uncertainties in carbon measurements and estimates.

10. Global agricultural, forestry and soils databases relevant for the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) should be centralized in a transparent and widely accessible system and a relevant information strategy should be developed. FAO could be the repository of the meta-databases and databases. In addition, the meeting suggested that FAO could be the custodian of the ecosystem and biosphere models that will be used to extrapolate flux and process measurements to the appropriate regional, national and global scales.

11. Regarding the very controversial topic of avoided deforestation, there is need for characterization of current rates of deforestation and likely trends to help remove perceptions that this activity could be easily used for "environmental blackmailing".

For more information, please contact:
Mr René Gommes, Environment and Natural Resources Service (SDRN), Sustainable Development Department, FAO.

E-mail:
Rene.Gommes@fao.org

We would be interested in knowing the interpretations our readers give to these two terms. Is there a difference?
Carbon Sequestration and Substitution
or
Carbon Substitution and Sequestration

Or do you think that "carbon sink and carbon replacement" is a better term?
Please write and tell us!

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