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LULUCF under the Kyoto Protocol
 

Background

Several Articles of the Kyoto Protocol make provisions for the inclusion of land use, land-use change and forestry activities by Parties as part of their efforts to implement the Kyoto Protocol and contribute to the mitigation of climate change.

In Article 2, sub-paragraphs 1(a) (ii) and (iii), Annex I Parties, in meeting their emission reduction commitments under Article 3, shall implement and/or further elaborate policies and measures to protect and enhance sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases (GHGs) not controlled by the pdf-icon Montreal Protocol, promote sustainable forest management, afforestation and reforestation and sustainable forms of agriculture.

Annex I Parties must report emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHGs resulting from LULUCF activities, in accordance with Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4.  Under Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol, Parties decided that net changes in GHG emissions by sources and removals by sinks through direct human-induced LULUCF activities, limited to afforestation, reforestation and deforestation that occurred since 1990, can be used to meet  Parties’ emission reduction commitments.  Under Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol, Parties may elect additional human-induced activities related to LULUCF specifically, forest management, cropland management, grazing land management and revegetation, to be included in their accounting of anthropogenic GHG emissions and removals for the first commitment period.  Upon election, this decision by a Party is fixed for the first commitment period.  The changes in carbon stock and GHG emissions relating to LULUCF activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4 must be reported for each year of the commitment period, beginning with the start of the commitment period, or with the start of the activity, whichever is later.  When LULUCF activities under Articles 3.3 and 3.4 result in a net removal of GHGs, an Annex I Party can issue removal units (RMUs) on the basis of these activities as part of meeting its commitment under Article 3.1.

In addition, under Article 3, paragraph 7, for the purpose of calculating the assigned amount, an Annex I Party for which land-use change and forestry constituted a net source of GHG emissions in 1990 shall include in their 1990 emissions base year or period the aggregate anthropogenic carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by sources minus removals by sinks in 1990 from land-use change (according to paragraph 5(b) in the annex to pdf-icon 13/CMP.1, this refers to: all emissions by sources minus removals by sinks reported in relation to the conversion of forests (deforestation)).

Two of the flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol make provisions for the implementation of LULUCF project activities by Parties.  The clean development mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol (Article 12) allows for the implementation of LULUCF project activities, limited to afforestation and reforestation, in non-Annex I countries.  These project activities assist Annex I Parties in achieving compliance with their emission reduction commitments under Article 3, while simultaneously assisting non-Annex I Parties to achieve sustainable development.

Under joint implementation (Article 6), an Annex I Party may implement projects that increase removals by sinks in another Annex I country.  The emissions reduction units (ERUs) generated from such a project can be used by the former to meet its emission reduction target.  Any project under Article 6 aimed at enhancing anthropogenic removals by sinks shall conform to definitions, accounting rules, modalities and guidelines under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the Kyoto Protocol.

Since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol at COP3 in 1997, there has been a number of agenda items that considered issues relating to LULUCF.  The below links provide overviews of these issues considered at the SBSTA, COP and COP/MOP to date.

 

Recent developments

 

Good practice guidance for land use, land-use change and forestry activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the Kyoto Protocol (Outcomes from SBSTA 27 and SBSTA 28)

The COP, by its decision pdf-icon 15/CP.10, encouraged Parties included in Annex I to the Convention that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol to submit, on a voluntary basis, with their inventory submission due on 15 April 2007, estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by sources and removals by sinks resulting from activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the Kyoto Protocol (KP), using the tables of the common reporting format (CRF) contained in annex II to the decision and supplementary information to be included in an annex to the national inventory report, in accordance with the guidance contained in annex I to the decision. 

Three Annex I Parties reported emissions by sources and removals by sinks resulting from activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4. Several Parties submitted their views on the CRF tables for reporting Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4 activities, and on their experience with these tables (contained in document FCCC/SBSTA/2007/MISC.28). A synthesis paper on the views of Parties was prepared to facilitate SBSTA's consideration of this agenda item at its twenty-seventh session (contained in document FCCC/SBSTA/2007/INF.2).

SBSTA27 considered whether modifications were needed to be made to the CRF tables and forwarded a draft decision to the COP/ MOP, at its third session.  The COP/MOP adopted the draft decision on “Good practice guidance for LULUCF activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the Kyoto Protocol” as pdf-icon decision 6/CMP.3.

In addition SBSTA 27 agreed to continue its consideration of the information included in an annex on “calculation of accounting quantities for activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4” at its next session (FCCC/SBSTA/2007/16, para 104 and annex I, page 21).

SBSTA 28 concluded its consideration of this matter.  It requested the secretariat to integrate the formulae related to the table “Information table on accounting for activities under Article 3.3 and 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol” into the CRF Reporter module, in order to facilitate reporting by Parties (FCCC/SBSTA/2008/L.11).

Reporting LULUCF activities under the Kyoto Protocol

Annex I Parties that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol shall use the CRF tables contained in the annex to pdf-icon decision 6/CMP.3 for reporting supplementary information for LULUCF activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the Kyoto Protocol as part of their national inventory report due in 2010.

The secretariat, subject to availability of supplementary funding, will develop a module to the CRF Reporter software for these tables to facilitate the submission of the tables by Parties in 2010.  After testing of a trial version, the secretariat will release the module by 1 April 2009 and will report thereon to the SBSTA at its thirty-first session (December 2009) (FCCC/SBSTA/2007/16, para 103).

 

 

 

 

 
Key links

Reporting of LULUCF activities under Article 3.3 and Article 3.4 

Clean Development Mechanism 

Joint implementation  

Initial reports under the Kyoto Protocol

Technical assessment of forest management reference levels in 2011

 
Key decisions

pdf-icon Decision 2/CMP.7
Modalities, rules and guidelines relating to land use, land-use change and forestry activities under the Kyoto Protocol

pdf-icon Decision 2/CMP.6
The Cancun Agreements: Land use, land-use change and forestry

pdf-icon Decision 6/CMP.3
Good practice guidance for land use, land-use change and forestry activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the Kyoto Protocol

pdf-icon Decision 8/CMP.2
Forest management under Article3, paragraph 4, of the Kyoto Protocol: Italy

pdf-icon Decision 16/CMP.1
Land use, land-use change and forestry

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