Potential of carbon payments for bioenergy

bioenergy and agriculture -- promises and challenges

This next regime of climate change rules must be targeted toward reducing GHGs as cheaply and quickly as possible. Developing countries and their farmers are key to meeting this objective. First, land-use changes and practices in developing countries must be included in mechanisms for reducing carbon emissions. The new regime must make carbon sinks, or the sequestering of carbon, a major focus…. Second, reforestation and afforestation must remain eligible categories, but forest preservation must also be part of the new regime. Forests are key not only to avoiding new emissions, but also to reducing the severity of climate change. Third, methodologies for assessing bioenergy need to be simplified so that more projects can quickly be included. Biomass technologies should become eligible automatically without proof of additionality. Fourth, small household- and community-level activities that reduce GHGs should be given more emphasis through more flexible interpretation of rules on bundling and displacement of unsustainable use of biomass. Fifth, sectorwide and programmatic projects should receive eligibility under simplified procedures so that large volumes of emissions reductions and GHG sequestering can take place. A project by-project approach is too costly in many situations and clogs the regulatory system. These five reforms would go a long way toward making a future mechanism for carbon emissions trading more effective and more pro-development. They would allow farmers in developing countries to benefit substantially from the post-2012 system and would permit small communities and the poor to participate through simpler mechanisms. Finally, they would permit the world to achieve reduced GHGs in the atmosphere at a lower cost and with more benefits to sustainable development and an increasing reliance on sustainable bioenergy sources.

Knudsen, Odin
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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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