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Policy Brief to AWG-LCA13 with regard to REDD+

Forested tropical peatlands are rapidly being converted into plantations, causing large greenhouse gas emissions, in south-east Asia about 900 Mtons of CO2 each year. Reducing emissions from organic soils under (former) forests should be addressed in a REDD+ mechanism. REDD+ should also be expanded to other ecosystems with substantial carbon stocks, such as non-forested peatlands, provided that emission reductions are MRV-proof. The restoration of yet deforested and drained peatswamp forests and non-forested peatlands should also be eligible as activity under REDD+ and/or be prioritized as low carbon strategies under NAMA’s.


REDD+ without peat may lead to a perverse policy

A REDD+ mechanism that does not provide adequate incentives to protect and restore organic soils ignores very high and ongoing emissions that result from deforestation and forest degradation, including from organic soils deforested in the past. Not accounting soil carbon losses under REDD+ would also provide an adverse incentive to enhance plantation forest growth by draining organic wetland soils with significant carbon stocks resulting in significant emissions.

Policy input option 2 of FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/14

The following elements should be kept in the REDD+ text:

  • Covers both deforestation and forest degradation
  • Provides safeguards for actions that are consistent with the conservation of natural forests and biological diversity, and ensure those actions are not used for the conversion of natural forests, and incentivize the protection and conservation of natural forests and their ecosystem services
  • Provides safeguard to reduce displacement of emissions
  • Covers activities to reduce emissions from forest carbon stocks (not just forest cover)
  • Covers activities to reduce emissions from both deforestation and forest degradation
  • Covers enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
  • Requests the SBSTA for undertaking a work programme to identify land use, land-use change and forestry activities in developing countries, and assess their potential contribution to the mitigation of climate change
  • Refers to methodological guidance in accordance with decision f4CP.15 which requests countries to use the most recent IPCC guidance as adopted or encouraged by the COP.
  • Elements that need to be improved:
  • Safeguards need stronger language, they should be ensured
  • The safeguard to reduce displacement of emissions should include leakage on international level and to non-forest ecosystems
  • With regard to mitigation activities, it should ensure prioritization for the protection of natural forests (above ground and below ground biomass) and the recovery or restoration of degraded forests, including deforested and drained peatswamp forests
  • Expand REDD+ scope to emission reductions from other selected land use sectors with significant emissions provided that they are MRV-Proof
  • Ensure also international drivers are addressed
  • Ensure COP decision to use IPCC 2006 guidelines, or any further revised IPCC Guidelines as soon they have been approved by the IPCC 

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