17 April 2001
1. "Climate Change and the Forestry Sector: Possible Legislative Responses for National and Subnational Governments", FAO Legal Papers Online #14, by Kenneth L. Rosenbaum, March 2001
This paper examines the developing law of climate change and discusses what issues legislative bodies may have to consider regarding climate change mitigation and forests.
Forests would appear to have a major role to play in the international response to climate change. However, the many parties to the Convention might reach different conclusions regarding the role of forests and appropriate legislation to foster that role:
· First, obligations of parties will differ, particularly between developed nations (Annex I parties) and other nations.
· Second, the role of forestry projects to counterbalance existing emissions is controversial. Some fear over-reliance on such projects could hamper industrial development.
· Third, the rules for multi-party mitigation projects and trading of emission reduction obligations are still unsettled.
· Fourth, the legal issues raised by forest mitigation will overlap with legal issues raised by larger issues of mitigation and compliance.
· Fifth, the approaches taken will vary depending on local institutions, laws, and needs.
· Sixth, the role of national legislation in compliance (versus international standards set by the parties) is still unclear.
To date, national legislative activity on the issue of forests and climate change has been slight. Countries have relied more on creative use of existing legislation than creation of new legislation.
There are a few exceptions to this observation. Costa Rica has created a Certified Tradable Offset to attract developed nations looking to sponsor mitigation projects. The first project funded under this mechanism has involved forests. The state of New South Wales in Australia has changed its property laws to recognize a separate legal interest in the carbon sequestration potential of forest land. The Dominican Republic has adopted a law that will allow it to create incentives for managing forests for environmental services such as carbon sequestration.
The possible issues that could arise in new legislation are broad. A nation interested in developing market-based systems to promote carbon sequestration in forests may have to address issues such as these:
· Who owns the carbon sequestration potential and can that ownership be transferred?
· How is the size of the potential to be determined?
· How can the government promote orderly sales or other transfers of potential ownership?
· How will the law allocate the risk of failure of carbon sequestration projects?
· Will the law assess liability for damaging a forest's carbon sequestration potential?
If a nation wishes to take a regulatory approach, at least three avenues are open to it. It can regulate forest use and management directly. For example, it could limit harvests or require prompt reforestation of harvested or degraded areas. It can regulate the manufacture and use of forest products, aiming at reducing waste and decay. Or it could regulate greenhouse gas producers in ways that encourage them to invest in greenhouse gas sinks.
Nations could also promote the use of forests as sinks through subsidies. These may be payments, goods, or services given to forest landowners to promote management for sequestration. The subsidies could also be in the form of government acquisition and management of lands, or of partial interests in lands. Governments could also spend money on enforcement of general forest protection laws.
Finally, governments could try to promote forest carbon sequestration using informational mechanisms. These range from informing landowners about management options and advantages, to informing manufacturers and consumers of forest products on ways to reduce waste, to certifying the success of private sequestration efforts.
Until the role of forests in meeting sequestration goals becomes clearer, the role of legislation in this area will also be unclear. However, deadlines under the Kyoto Protocol are tight, and parties should be thinking now about how or whether to encourage the use of forests as carbon sinks.
The paper can be downloaded from http://www.fao.org/Legal/pub-e.htm , then click on FAO Legal Papers Online.
For further information, please contact Mr. Ali Mekouar (Ali.Mekouar@fao.org)
2. " Market Discount for Sinks: A Concept for Restricting Forest Contributions in Accounting for Emission Reductions?" by André Gabus, Interim Report IR-01-012, 22 March 2001, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Some countries have accepted the text of the Kyoto Protocol under the specific provision of including sinks, as this offers prospects of actually helping them to fulfil their commitments. More and more complex definitions of carbon offsets have been proposed for avoiding accounting tricks and loopholes. Aware that 'science could not bring them any further', negotiators are now trying to strike a deal on a quantitative cap for carbon sequestration -- a drive that has its own problems (among which the equitable allocation of admissible projects and derived credits in the context of restricting activities). Not yet completely disregarded by policy makers, discounting for sinks by some means also opens prospects of searching for a necessary arrangement in accounting for enhancing carbon sequestration activities.
Various ways are presently proposed for addressing the issue of the qualitative selection and quantitative restriction of sink activities; they have the common trait of resorting to market forces. Expected market discounts for the removed carbon regarding the reduction unit price of energy projects are approached and applied here in the context of the probably inescapable conversion of the national-issued emission permits into credits acceptable for compliance at intergovernmental level.
Alternative solutions, with a more explicit reference to the environmental and social integrity projects, consist, for example, of installing a specific market for quality-ranked carbon sinks that are submitted to an auction procedure within the constraint of a politically-decided quantitative cap (Obersteiner et al., 2001). These various proposals share a common feature: they aim at self-regulation and decentralizing the decision-making process, thereby intending to reduce the seemingly unresolvable complexity of the sink problem significantly.
The English version of this paper can be downloaded from
The French version is available on page
For more information, contact André GABUS (email@example.com ).
-Climate Talks scheduled for April 20 in New York:
*G-77 environmental ministers to meet April 20 on climate April 12 Kyodo
*Talks on Climate Set in New York April 11, 2001 (IHT)
*Crunch time nears for climate treaty 11 April, 2001 (BBC)
-COP6 President Pronk's New Proposal:
*The proposal can be found on:
*Climate talks chief offers new global warming plan April 11, 2001
*New Climate Proposals Aim to Appease USA April 12, 2001 (ENS)
*COP6 president's new proposal unacceptable to Japan TOKYO April 12 Kyodo
*Minister criticizes climate proposal April 14, 2001 (Japan Times)
*NZ: Clark: Kyoto deal needs U.S. to work April 13, 2001 (The Asahi Shimbun)
*Blair urged to tackle Bush over Kyoto 13 April, 2001 (BBC)
*Chirac tells Powell of French concern over Kyoto April 12, 2001
*EU World Trip Confirms U.S. Isolation on Kyoto April 11, 2001 (ENS)
*EU determined on climate deal with or without U.S. April 10, 2001
*Asia environment ministers urge U.S. to stay with accord Tuesday, April 10, 2001
* The Third Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting , Press Release by the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan, April 8, 2001
*U.S. to unveil new climate proposal to replace Kyoto
Sunday, April 8, 2001
*U.S. Climate Stance Triggers Boycott Threats April 5, 2001 (ENS)
*Canada Firm in Support of Climate Treaty April 4, 2001 (ENS)
*Statement by Environment Minister David Anderson on Climate Change
*U.S. Rebuffs Europeans Urging Change of Mind on Kyoto Treaty
*Bush faces EU wrath over snub to Kyoto deal
Tuesday April 3, 2001, The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,467505,00.html
* EU pressures U.S. on Kyoto, CNN.com April 3
<SCIENCE AND RESEARCH>
-Biodiversity Gives Carbon Sinks a Boost April 13, 2001 (ENS)
-2 Studies Affirm Greenhouse Gases' Effects Researchers Directly Link Rising Ocean Temperatures, 'Human-Induced' Emissions April 13, 2001
-Ocean study points finger at mankind 12 April, 2001 (BBC)
-Emissions trading cuts Kyoto economy impact - study April 11, 2001
-Climate Change Linked to Vanishing Toads April 5, 2001 (ENS)
-Climate change blamed for Okinawa coral death
Thursday, April 5, 2001
-Japan issues 1st green certificates for wind power April 9, 2001
-Earth Negotiations Bulleting's report of the seventeenth session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 4-6 April 2001, in Nairobi, Kenya. Participants met in plenary sessions throughout the three-day meeting. They accepted the actions of the three IPCC Working Groups with regard to adopting the three sections of the Third Assessment Report (TAR), considered progress on the TAR Synthesis Report, and discussed the future of the IPCC in depth.
English HTML: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/vol12/enb12165e.html
French HTML: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/vol12/enb12165f.html
Photos available at http://www.iisd.ca/climate/ipcc17/index.html
(from Climate-L list)
-The April 10 issue of CLIMATE CANADA is now available.
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-Is Kyoto Dead? Discussion meeting, 25 April 16.00-18.00h, Chatham House, London
This brief discussion meeting will address the question of the future for climate policy and Kyoto in particular. Can Europe proceed with the help of the other Annex I countries? What are the prospects for American action on emission reductions? And what is the response from developing countries?
· Duncan Brack, RIIA
· John Ashton, UK Foreign Office (invited)
· Sir Crispin Tickell
· Robert Napier, WWF-UK
· Farhana Yamin, FIELD, and
· Alice Tidball, US Embassy, London
· Tom Roper, Climate Institute (invited)
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-International Workshop on SYSTEMS ASPECTS OF GREENHOUSE EFFECT vs. PROBLEMS OF SUSTAINABLE RURAL DEVELOPMENT: BIOMASS, BIOFUELS, AND FUEL CELLS, to be held in Warsaw, Poland, in September 26-29, 2001
For more information, see Bioconference program and latest news on WWW-page
or contact Prof. Wieslaw Ciechanowic
Systems Research Institute of Polish Academy of Sciences
ul. Newelska 6, 01-447 Warszawa, e-mail: email@example.com .
fax: (4822) 837 27 72 , switchboard: 8373578 ext. 267
-Young Canadian Leaders for a Sustainable Future (YCLSF)
Several exciting international internship opportunities have just been
Application deadline is May 1, 2001.
Start Date: August and September (6 month placements)
Additional details and application forms are posted at
<http://www.iisd.org/interns/ >. IISD is committed to equal opportunity.
The International Institute for Sustainable Development is recruiting for the Young Canadian Leaders for a Sustainable Future (YCLSF) Program. We are looking for young professionals to take up positions in Norway, England, Switzerland, India, Vietnam, South Africa, Kenya, Mexico, Finland, Costa Rica, USA (Boston, Washington), Netherlands, Pakistan, Argentina, Romania and Hungary. We have positions available in the following categories: trade and sustainable development, climate change, sustainable development communications, and capacity building and training for sustainable development.
To be eligible for the YCLSF program you must meet the following
* be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
* be a graduate of a college or university program;
* be unemployed or underemployed;
* be between 19 and 30 years of age;
* have not previously participated in an internship program funded under the Canadian Government's Youth employment Strategy (YES) program;
* have had no previous paid career related international work experience;
* have knowledge and understanding of sustainable development issues and practices; and
* be available for a minimum of 6 months
A stipend will be provided to interns to cover basic living expenses including airfare and accommodations.
All inquires should be directed to: Carolee Buckler, Program Manager, IISD, 161 Portage Ave. East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 0Y4. Phone: (204) 958-7700 Fax: (204) 958-7710 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Funding is made possible with support from the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy (YES), through contributions from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)and Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).
-Resumed COP6 website
The Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC will take place from 16 to 27 July 2001 at the Hotel Maritim, Bonn, Germany. This page will provide links to relevant information as it becomes available.
Thank you for your inputs for this issue: Ali Mekouar, André Gabus, and Lorenza Colletti
The objective of CLIM-FO-L is to be a forum for sharing current information and experiences about climate change and forestry amongst experts and non-experts. CLIM-FO-L will send periodically to subscribers synopsis of contributions, indicating how to obtain more detailed information on the topic. CLIM-FO-L is a service provided by the FAO Forest Products Division (FOP).
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