Better reporting of greenhouse gas emissions means better mitigation of climate change
A new publication identifies good practices for countries that have to measure, estimate and report greenhouse gas emissions and removals under the Kyoto Protocol, says Amy C. Cruz
Dr Rodel Lasco, the country coordinator for the World Agroforestry Centre Philippines, has co-authored with an international team of researchers the introductory chapter of The 2013 Revised Supplementary Methods and Good Practice Guidance Arising from the Kyoto Protocol.
An internationally binding agreement, the Kyoto Protocol restricts greenhouse gas emission limits and sets reduction targets for participating countries. Information about emissions is collected and included in the annual national greenhouse gas inventory reports of each country.
‘Documentation of good practices in reporting the levels of greenhouse gases helps national governments determine whether they are working most efficiently to achieve the targets set under the Kyoto Protocol’, said Dr Lasco.
The new publication will help countries create greenhouse gas inventories that neither over- nor underestimate values and so reduce uncertainties for the second commitment period of the Protocol, which runs from January 2013 to December 2020.
More specifically, the publication will help countries report the level of greenhouse gases emitted and removed from the atmosphere as part of activities such as afforestation, reforestation, deforestation and other land-management practices.
A given area of land might be used for one specific activity but more often than not there are overlapping uses, as identified in the Guidance. Thus, the countries are encouraged to use and document definitions that avoid overlaps in reporting.
However, reporting this ‘supplementary’ information is not confined only to the Protocol. The Protocol is an arrangement under the mitigation focus of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Thus, the information would also be reported under the Convention.Separate reports need not be made for the Protocol and the Convention, as long as sufficient supplementary information is included, and the same definitions are used for both reports. Also, methods used in estimation and reporting for the Protocol should be at the same, if not higher, tier as used in UNFCCC reporting.
All these reports on greenhouse gas emissions and removals aim to contribute to mitigation as a response to climate change. Mitigation includes activities that reduce emissions and enhance sinks that remove greenhouse gases. Climate-change adaptation, on the other hand, is adjustment to climatic events, such as higher and more variable temperatures.
Both adaptation and mitigation are needed if the world is to effectively respond to climate change.
In June 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations brought together experts to look at actions that could positively transform landscapes and food systems, focusing on building synergies between mitigation and adaptation (read more about the event here).
Adaptation and mitigation do not need to be regarded as separate challenges. Edwyn Grainger-Jones, director of the Environment and Climate Division of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, noted that many initiatives contributing to mitigation are often developed with adaptation or another goal in mind.
Conservation agriculture, agroforestry and other holistic management practices can help integrate mitigation and adaptation efforts, as Minh Ha Hoang, Peter Minang and an international team of researchers said in a earlier post.
Read the Guidelines
[IPCC] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2014. 2013 Revised Supplementary Methods and Good Practice Guidance Arising from the Kyoto Protocol. Hiraishi T, Krug T, Tanabe K, Srivastava N, Baasansuren J, Fukuda M, Troxler TG, eds. Geneva: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This work is linked to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry