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Title: Bioenergy: Counting on Incentives
Contributor(s): Pingoud, Kim (author); Cowie, Annette  (author); Bird, Neil (author); Gustavsson, Leif (author); Ruter, Sebastian (author); Sathre, Roger (author); Soimakallio, Sampo (author); Turk, Andreas (author); Woess-Gallasch, Susanne (author)
Publication Date: 2010
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5970.1199-b
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Abstract: The suggestion by T. D. Searchinger et al. ("Fixing a critical climate accounting error," Policy Forum, 23 October 2009, p. 527) to account for CO2 by "tracing the actual flows of carbon" appears to promote an approach to carbon accounting in which emissions and removals from a forest are determined on the basis of gross atmospheric fluxes between the forest, or forest products, and the atmosphere. This contrasts with the current "stock-change" approach, in which the annual removals or emissions from a country's forest are assumed to be equal to the net change in carbon stocks in biomass and soils of the forest estate. We share the concern of the authors that a "critical climate accounting error" exists within the Kyoto protocol and could undermine greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. However, we feel that their solution would create new, unintended disincentives for the sustainable use of biomass. The practical problem in the current accounting framework is that some countries do not have commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, and they are therefore not obliged to account for emissions from loss of terrestrial carbon. Furthermore, some countries with commitments choose not to account for some sources of emissions (for example, conversion of natural to managed forest, conversion of grassland to cropland). Therefore, loss of carbon stock associated with the supply of biomass for bioenergy may not be accounted for.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Science, v.327, p. 1199-1200
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1095-9203
Field of Research (FOR): 050205 Environmental Management
HERDC Category Description: C4 Letter of Note
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