During the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the CMP7 to the Kyoto Protocol all countries must take real action to protect the world’s forests and to close the logging and bioenergy loopholes.
The protection of the world’s natural forests must be a part of the COP 17 agreement. The world’s intact forests can play a major role in avoiding dangerous climate change, but they need to be protected from deforestation and forest degradation immediately.
The next climate deal must deliver real reductions to ensure the survival of all peoples and countries, it should not include loopholes that allow countries to hide the emissions that result from the logging and burning of natural forests.
The LULUCF logging loophole (Land Use and Land Use Change in Forestry)
Logging releases massive amounts of carbon emissions and drives climate change, yet under the current LULUCF rules countries choose if they elect to account for forest management. This allows countries to avoid accounting for emissions from logging and other forest management activities.
This LULUCF loophole must be closed, the next climate deal must make forest management accounting mandatory.
Developed countries need to make real reductions in emissions, not hide behind false accounting and forward looking baselines that hide the emissions from logging natural forests.
The Bioenergy Loophole
Burning natural forests for electricity is bad for the climate, bad for the forests and bad for forest communities. Huge demand is building for wood-fired electricity generation, driven by policies that indiscriminately promote bioenergy as ‘renewable’. This poses an immediate, extreme and growing threat to natural forests across the globe.
In being perversely promoted as ‘good for climate change’, industrial bioenergy is bad for the climate, bad for the forests and bad for forest communities – and, in many situations, has a bigger carbon footprint than fossil fuels.
Under IPCC guidelines, emissions from burning biomass for ‘bioenergy’ or ‘biopower’ can be accounted for as ‘zero’ in the energy sector by Annex I countries. This accounting rule is based on the unsafe assumption that any negative emissions will be accounted for in the LULUCF sector. This is unsafe because current LULUCF rules allow country to not account for the emissions that are created during the harvesting and production of biomass. There is no obligation for a country that is responsible for the emissions made from producing biomass to account for its emissions.
This Bioenergy loophole must be closed. Consumer countries must make sure that all the emissions resulting from bioenergy production and use (its carbon footprint) are not only properly calculated but also fully accounted for – by them at the point and time of their combustion.