Forests and Agriculture in Carbon Market Landscapes (COP18 analysis)

Doha did not reach a deal on how to address forests and agriculture within the UNFCCC process. Carbon markets are expected to be a hot topic in the upcoming negotiations under the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) in 2013. Many observers and some countries, like Bolivia, are strongly opposed to including REDD and agriculture in carbon trading mechanisms. Yet, many others are strongly advocating for it because they see offsets as a vehicle for financing. Discussions will continue in Bonn and Carbon Market Watch will be watching closely.

REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) is the U.N. mechanism to provide incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Important decisions have been put off for further discussions going into 2013 and well beyond. Again there was no decision on how REDD should be

financed but delegates agreed on a work programme to prepare for a decision next year at COP19. Submissions on options for financing REDD+ projects are invited until 25 March 2013 and a first workshop will be held in Bonn in June 2013. You can read more about REDD at COP18 here and here.

At the SBSTA discussions on Agriculture developing and industrialized countries were heavily divided over mitigation (reducing GHGs from agriculture production) and adaptation (dealing with negative effects of climate change on farming and food production). Delegates therefore decided not to begin a work program on agriculture and negotiations will continue next year. In discussions on Land use, Land-use change and Forestry (LULUCF) under SBSTA no agreement was reached about whether “non-permanent” (ie agricultural) carbon credits should be included in the CDM and negotiations will therefore continue next year. Submissions on this issue can be made until 25 March 2013. The decision text on New Market Mechanisms, implicitly links agriculture to carbon markets: A request was made for a study and workshops on monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) issues for “removals” of carbon from the air through land-based methodologies such as agriculture.