Integration of the ecosystem sector and climate change mitigation in carbon accounting schemes
: practical and policy approaches

  • Penny Van-Oosterzee

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    In 1992 the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio Earth Summit) addressed two linked global crises: climate change and biodiversity decline. The Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change were opened simultaneously for signature. Climate change provides an urgent incentive to develop mechanisms to reduce or prevent further degradation of ecosystems particularly through deforestation. Working together, abatement in this ecosystem sector and in the energy sector could drive most global emissions reductions.

    However, negotiations leading to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which crystallized the commitment of the UNFCCC, forfeited the inclusion of the ecosystem sector for largely political and ideological reasons. This thesis by prior publications suggests that the result is the decoupling of the ecosystem sector from climate change policy, and that this continues to drive discordant policies at international, national and regional levels.

    The European Union, for instance, does not permit credits derived from ecosystems in its emissions trading scheme, the largest in the world, and will not consider them until after 2020. The concept of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) emerged to fill the gap left by the forfeiture of the ecosystem sector. But the implementation of REDD is held back by the slow pace of international climate change policy processes, and lacks financial support. Meanwhile deforestation continues at alarming rates. In Australia, the complex design of the Carbon Farming Initiative takes its cue from the Kyoto Protocol, hindering uptake and militating against the role of ecosystems in climate mitigation. This thesis interrogates the reasons for the lack of funding for REDD and provides a practical financial solution, called iREDD, to project-level private investment. A framework for integrating the ecosystem sector into landscape-scale climate mitigation approaches using Australia’s Natural Resources Management (NRM) framework is also developed.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDonald Franklin (Supervisor)

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