International forest emission reductions should be fully interchangeable with other emission reductions in the cap-and-trade system, they said. And U.S. agencies should adopt standards for measuring, monitoring and verifying international forest activities that prevent double-counting and account for the potential for forest emissions to shift to other areas as a result of climate policy.
Cap-and-trade legislation should also include social protections for indigenous people, forest-dependent communities and the rural poor for projects that receive funding or access to U.S. carbon markets, they said.
The groups also detailed what activities should qualify for money from the 5 percent of allowances. They include programs to assist developing nations in managing forests and lay the groundwork for participation in international forest carbon markets; incentives for emissions reductions from forestry activities; programs to conserve existing forests, including payments to countries that already have low forestry emission rates; programs to improve forest management and land-use policy; up-front financing for emission reduction activities; and credit for early action before the cap-and-trade program is in place.
In the draft climate change bill proposed by House Democrats, credits aimed at gaining emissions cuts by avoiding tropical deforestation would slowly decrease over time. From 2012 through 2025, 5 percent of allowances would pay for efforts to prevent tropical deforestation and establish an international system of deforestation offsets. House Democrats said that by 2020, the program would achieve additional emission reductions equivalent to 10 percent of U.S. emissions in 2005. From 2026 through 2030, 3 percent of allowances would be allocated to the program, and from 2031 to 2050, the amount would be reduced to 2 percent.
The groups supporting the agreement include American Electric Power, Conservation International, Duke Energy, El Paso Corp., Environmental Defense Fund, Disney Corp., Marriott International, Mercy Corps, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, PG&E Corp., Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, Union of Concerned Scientists, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Woods Hole Research Center.
Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500