Tropical deforestation in a future international climatepolicy regime—lessons from the Brazilian Amazon
Journal article, 2007

The possibility of adopting national targets for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from tropical deforestation in a future international climate treaty has received increasing attention recently. This attention has been prompted by proposals to this end and more intensified talks on possible commitments for developing countries beyond the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Kyoto Protocol. We analyze four main scientific and political challenges associated with national targets for emissions from tropical deforestation: (1) reducing the uncertainties in emission inventories, (2) preserving the environmental integrity of the treaty, (3) promoting political acceptance and participation in the regime, and (4) providing economic incentives for reduced deforestation.Wedraw the following conclusions. (1) Although there are large uncertainties in carbon flux from deforestation, these are in the same range as for other emissions included in the current Kyoto protocol (i.e., non- CO2 GHGs), and they can be reduced. However, for forest degradation processes the uncertainties are larger.Alarge challenge lies in building competence and institutions for monitoring the full spectrum of land use changes in developing countries. (2 and 3) Setting targets for deforestation is difficult, and uncertainties in future emissions imply a risk of creating ‘tropical hot air’. However, there are proposals that may sufficiently deal with this, and these proposals may also have the advantage of making the targets more attractive, politically speaking. Moreover, we conclude that while a full carbon accounting system will likely be politically unacceptable for tropical countries, the current carbon accounting system should be broadened to include forest degradation in order to safeguard environmental integrity. (4) Doubts can be cast over the possible effect a climate regime alone will have on deforestation rates, though little thorough analysis of this issue has been made.

Deforestation Land use change Climate change Policy Amazon Kyoto protocol


Martin Persson

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Christian Azar

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change

1381-2386 (ISSN) 1573-1596 (eISSN)

Vol. 12 1277-1304

Subject Categories

Business Administration

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