Under the Kyoto Protocol, certain human-induced activities in the land-use, land-use change and forestry sector that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere (known as carbon "sinks"), namely afforestation, reforestation and tackling deforestation, may be used by Annex I Parties to offset their emission targets. Conversely, changes in these activities that deplete carbon "sinks" (e.g. an increase in deforestation) will be subtracted from the amount of emissions that an Annex I Party may emit over its commitment period. The scientific uncertainty and complexity surrounding the land-use, land-use change and forestry sector (known as "LULUCF") means that the implementation details of these provisions need to be worked on further. The main points at stake are as follows:
Defining "afforestation, reforestation and deforestation": While Article 3.3 includes these activities in the scope of the Protocol, it does not define exactly what they encompass. As no common definition of these three terms currently exists, Parties must negotiate an agreed definition that will be used under the Protocol.
Additional human-induced activities: Article 3.4 states that additional human-induced activities in the agricultural soils and LULUCF categories may be added to the three already counted under the Protocol. Parties now need to consider criteria for including new activities in the scope of the Protocol, and which activities should be selected. Article 3.4 mandates COP/MOP 1 to take a decision on this issue.
A further important task for Parties is to devise guidelines for reporting on the LULUCF sector as part of the greenhouse gas inventories of Annex I Parties under the Protocol. In addition, Article 3.7 allows Annex I Parties to include emissions from land-use change in the calculation of their baseline (mostly 1990) if the land-use change and forestry sector was a net source of greenhouse gas emissions for them in 1990. Parties must decide exactly how this provision will be implemented.
Given the particular need for scientific advice on this issue, the IPCC agreed, following a request by SBSTA 8 (June 1998), to prepare a Special Report on LULUCF.
At COP 4, Parties agreed that COP/MOP 1 should take decisions on the two key issues outlined above, and that the COP would recommend such decisions after the IPCC Special Report had been completed and considered by the SBSTA. At COP 5, Parties endorsed a work programme and decision-making framework on LULUCF to enable these draft decisions for COP/MOP 1 to be recommended at COP 6.
Work has also continued inter-sessionally, with SBSTA workshops on LULUCF held in Rome on 24-25 September 1998, in Indianapolis, USA, on 26-28 April 1999 and in Poznan, Poland, on 10-15 July 2000.