In October 2006, the
The Kyoto Protocol is a legally binding commitment agreed by many developed nations to reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The Protocol allows countries to reduce the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions they have to make by planting more trees. It also establishes rules for a carbon credit trading system allowing companies to offset a proportion of their gas emissions through investment in forest “carbon sinks”.
The importance of forests and their role in mitigating climate change was further outlined the Eliasch Review Climate Change: Financing Global Forests. This is an independent report to Government, commissioned by the Prime Minister and prepared by Johan Eliasch. The Review focuses on the scale of finance required to produce significant reductions in forest carbon emissions; around $17-33 billion per year to 2030 if included in global carbon trading. It also examines how mechanisms to address forest loss can contribute to poverty reduction, as well as the importance of preserving biodiversity. The report states that strong and urgent action to tackle forests loss, due mainly to competing land uses such as agriculture, is a key component to mitigate climate change.
The report concludes that future climate change deals must aim to halve deforestation by 2020 and make the sector carbon neutral by 2030. The report recommends that finance be raised through the inclusion of forestry in well-designed carbon trading schemes coupled with international financial support. The carbon mechanisms are not the only action needed. The report recommends industrialised countries must have greater emission reduction targets. Whilst effective targets to halt deforestation must also be set by forest producer countries.
The Forestry Commission is the technical Government body responsible for setting sustainable forestry policy in the UK and represents UK interests on international fora; particuarly the role forests play in mitigating climate change.