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Dissertation zugänglich unter
Climate change mitigation through forest management, afforestation andavoided deforestation : analysis of accounting approaches
Klimawandelminderung durch Waldbewirtschaftung, Aufforstung und vermiedene Entwaldung : Analyse von Anrechnungsansätzen
Dokument 1.pdf (982 KB)
Freie Schlagwörter (Deutsch):
Natürliche Ressourcen, Energie und Umwelt
Dieter, Matthias (Prof. PD Dr.)
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung:
Kurzfassung auf Englisch:
The United Nations acknowledged the important role of forest ecosystems in the context of climate change by addressing the source and sink functions of forests in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The aim of including climate change objectives within the UNFCCC was, on the one hand, to reduce current and expected emissions from forest ecosystems, mainly due to deforestation and forest degradation and, on the other hand, to incentivise the conservation and enhancement of existing forest carbon stock, e.g., through forest conservation, sustainable forest management, afforestation and reforestation. The reporting and accounting of carbon emissions and removals from the so-called land use, land-use change and forestry sector (LULUCF) was included in a binding policy framework under the Kyoto Protocol for industrialised countries.
Detailed rules for reporting and accounting were implemented, which have undergone amendments since the first commitment period.
For developing countries the adoption and implementation of a corresponding system is still in progress. The so-called REDD+ system (‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation
in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries’) is currently in preparation under the UNFCCC. This system aims to incentivise developing countries to implement forest-based climate change mitigation options, with a results-based financing by industrialised countries. The design of a detailed financing, monitoring, reporting and accounting framework is currently being worked out, which for developing countries is loaded with additional difficulties, given the lack of capacity and experience, insufficient data availability and weak monitoring systems.
To guarantee global climate effectiveness, the entire forest-based climate change mitigation approach under the UNFCCC needs to be consistent. This means avoiding gaps, which could produce leakage, and insuring incentives are effective and properly aligned. These self-evident requirements are, however, not self-evidently inherent to a politicised system of such dimension and complexity. This thematic context of ‘global climate change and the role of forest ecosystems’ and of the ‘political
agreements to fight climate change’ in industrialised and developing countries is introduced in the first part of the comprehensive summary of this cumulative dissertation. The underlying object of carbon accounting in the forest-related LULUCF sector are the natural and human-induced ‘forest dynamics of carbon uptake and release through forest growth, forest management and forest cover change’, which are summarised in the second Chapter. The details of ‘the political design for accounting of carbon uptake and release by forests’ are explained in the third part of the thematic context. Here the similarities and differences between the existing and envisaged accounting approaches between different land-use categories and mitigation activities and between industrialised and developing countries are addressed. Special attention is given to the implied incentive effect of different accounting options and the role of reference levels.
The design and implications of different accounting approaches for the mitigation activities of forest management, afforestation and avoided deforestation are analysed by three scientific articles presented in the second part of the comprehensive summary. The first article analyses the incentive effect of different sub-national carbon accounting approaches for afforestations and forest management in industrialised countries by analysing the interactions of different carbon and timber prices and interest
rates. The results show that additional carbon crediting, passed down directly to the forest owner, increases the optimal rotation period when carbon prices outperform timber prices. When harvests are immediately charged with debits (without including the harvested wood products’ intrinsic carbon stock), harvesting becomes uneconomic at a given price level.
The second article addresses the land-use change activity of deforestation by analysing national patterns of forest cover development on a global scale. For globally consistent accounting of land-use changes a quantifiably comparable forest cover development among the countries would facilitate a standardised approach for the accounting of land-use changes. The study, therefore, analyses recent data from
developing countries and historic data from industrialised countries in a multi-national regression model. Regularities in the influence of certain drivers of deforestation on the forest cover decline could be detected and empirically quantified for 140 countries. The resulting global deforestation curve was included as a method for determining reference levels for a potential future REDD+ mechanism proposed in the third article. The third study applies national data of deforesting developing countries for the prediction of a business as usual forest cover development for REDD+ reference levels. The application of this uniform global deforestation curve for a REDD+ reference level approach provides the advantage of the consideration of individual national circumstances standardised by a uniform methodology. The three articles are each summarised briefly, stating the personal contribution, and their results are discussed in the thematic context described in the first part of the comprehensive summary.
In the final conclusions the relevance of the results of the three articles for the overall thematic context is described. The results show which major implications politically designed carbon accounting rules have on the incentive effect, and thereby on the effectiveness of climate change mitigation options. The accounting approaches have to be carefully designed and matched with each other to avoid false incentives or incentive gaps. The results also show that on the operational level competing interests may outweigh the incentives. Furthermore, the feasibility of consistent carbon accounting is discussed and the connections and similarities of the different existing approaches are depicted. The transferability of the different accounting approaches, between the various activities addressed and between industrialised and developing countries, but also the empirical quantification of a comparable forest cover development between different countries, encourages the implementation of consistent carbon accounting. Stepwise approaches are, however, needed to overcome existing data and capacity gaps.
The complete versions of the three individual articles are included in the Appendix, as well as a list of further publications.