Achieving forest carbon information with higher certainty: A five-part plan

By Baker et al., Environmental Science & Policy (2010)

International negotiations on the inclusion of land use activities into an emissions reduction system for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have been partially hindered by the technical challenges of measuring, reporting, and verifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the policy issues of leakage, additionality, and permanence. This paper outlines a five-part plan for estimating forest carbon stocks and emissions with the accuracy and certainty needed to support a policy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, forest conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (the REDD-plus framework considered at the UNFCCC COP-15) in developing countries. The plan is aimed at UNFCCC non-Annex 1 developing countries, but the principles outlined are also applicable to developed (Annex 1) countries. The parts of the plan are: (1) Expand the number of national forest carbon Measuring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) systems with a priority on tropical developing countries; (2) Implement continuous global forest carbon assessments through the network of national systems; (3) Achieve commitments from national space agencies for the necessary satellite data; (4) Establish agreed-on standards and independent verification processes to ensure robust reporting; and (5) Enhance coordination among international and multilateral organizations.