While there was never a great expectation for a legally binding global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions at the Cancun climate talks, there is hope that the talks will see progress in stopping deforestation, which was calamitously overlooked by the original Kyoto Protocol. The scheme to watch for is Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), which will enable investment in forests to be incentivised through carbon credits.
However, in an arcane accounting negotiations process, it seems that there is a logging loophole being supported by all of the rich Annex 1 countries (including New Zealand) that would allow huge emissions from future deforestation to go uncounted.
The incentive would allow rich nations to ramp up logging without accounting for the greenhouse gases that result, in effect hiding emissions increases. It takes the form of a proposed revision of the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) rules under the Kyoto Protocol.
In fact, we stand to increase our emissions because of this loophole more than any other country.
“The crazy one is New Zealand,” Chris Henschel, policy manager at the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, another group involved, told SolveClimate News.
New Zealand aims to slash emissions across its economy by 10 to 20 percent by 2020. But the LULUCF incentive would allow the logging giant to cut down more trees and keep the emissions rise off the books.
The result would be a 45 percent increase in New Zealand’s emissions, instead of a reduction, the analysis said.
Nearly every Annex I nation backs the loophole, though none would benefit as much as New Zealand.
Our brilliantly informed youth delegation representatives at Cancun have been very active on this issue, and clearly explain the position New Zealand is advocating to be able to cheat on emissions reductions:
New Zealand is also advocating a projected baseline approach to LULUCF. What this means is that countries will be able to predict what their forestry industry will look like in the next few years and then make their own predicted baseline. If they emit less than this, they will be eligible for credits. The problem here is that a country could inflate predictions of how much will be emitted, and therefore gain credits for doing nothing at all to reduce emissions.
It is irresponsible for the New Zealand Government to support accounting loopholes that undermine our policy and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially if it lets us cheat the most.
You can do something before talks finish this Saturday! Sign this petition today to tell NZ to stop supporting this potentially disastrous loophole.