Right now in Barcelona is the time for Annex I Parties to change their LULUCF strategy and stop looking for cheap and easy credits from this sector. Continuing on this path will undermine the integrity of the Copenhagen climate agreement instead of creating a fair and transparent accounting framework through which industrialized countries take full responsibility for emissions from logging and bioenergy production.
It has already become clear that seriously flawed rules will be challenged by non-Annex I Parties and observers alike. Moreover, continued advocacy for such rules by some Annex I Parties risks a setback in the overall negotiations and raises the necessity for further modifications such as caps or discounting.
Fair and effective forest management accounting rules will provide an incentive to make structural changes in forest management that benefit the climate, and discourage forest management practices that yield little value. Yet the options in the current working text are flagrantly asymmetric.
Sources of debits are variously removed from the accounting altogether, defined away in the reference levels, explained as natural disturbances, or delayed for decades by favorable wood product accounting. Erasing debits is like deciding that nobody will ever fail in a pass/fail system – and will provide about the same amount of motivation for the effort to get forest management right.