Reforestation gains might be negated by overseas trade – report

The report warned that countries that appear to have reduced greenhouse gas emissions through reforestation may have just displaced the emissions to another country which just imported the former country’s food, fiber, and wood.

This loophole can be explained by a concept called “emissions embodied in trade” which means that the carbon footprint of some products is much higher since the responsibility for the product’s manufacture is shifted elsewhere.

Because of this, national GHG inventories only account for the use of forest resources and not the end product itself.

The report cautioned that if E.E.T. was not recognized in future discussions of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation talks, emission displacement through trade would be discouraged, thus cancelling out efforts of reducing global emissions through land use.

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To avoid this, the report suggested that there should be an improved transparency in land use planning and implementation. This would entail good record keeping and reporting, and deliberate attempts at low carbon development pathways along the value chains of commodities in developing countries.

Another solution would be to negotiate globally acceptable rules and methods for carbon footprint accounting thus addressing the current diverse and multiple emerging schemes of different countries.

Other recommendations are reporting of potential or estimated displacements, establishing an incentive system and a set of guidelines for managing regional level displacement, and improved responsibility of nation states for their land use and emissions.

The report was done in partnership with the University College London, Redd-Alert, Norad, World Agroforestry Center, and the European Union.



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