Equitable accounting

Kyoto Protocol targets can be rightly met by including uncertain carbon emissions

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

accounting uncertain sources of carbon emission can only lead to the transparent, consistent, comparable, accurate and verifiable accounting system required to fulfill the obligations of the Kyoto Protocol. This was stated in a report prepared by Austria-based Forestry Project of the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis ( iiasa ). The report indicates that the articles of the Kyoto Protocol are full of loopholes and any country can easily circumvent its target. It further added that with no reliable verification tool, it is impossible to effectively assess the different activities eligible for accounting.

The institute did a case study on Russia's carbon emission, as it accounts for at least 15 per cent of the net global releases of carbon, while its forests comprise approximately one-fifth of the world's total forested area. Thus, a critical assessment of the Russian carbon balance is important, as it will lead to a better understanding of global carbon balance. During the study, various pools (reservoirs with the capacity to accumulate or release carbon) and fluxes (transfers of carbon from one pool to another) in soils, terrestrial biota, agricultural products, and forest products, as well as animal husbandry and the energy sector of Russia were examined.

Based on the study, iiasa found out that an estimated 129 per cent of fluxes in Russia, in the year 1990, were due to uncertainty factors. The report stated that deduction is required in this uncertainty range to achieve the climate targets accurately. Certain flexibility mechanisms of Kyoto Protocol allow countries to offset their fuel emissions by activities such as afforestation. According to the report these mechanisms can be meaningful only if they are supported by a system that accounts for all sources and carbon sinks. ilasa 's research shows that full carbon accounting ( fca ) requires not only highly detailed studies of complex natural processes, but identification of associated uncertain sources. The study has added one more dimension to the earlier statements regarding the current Kyoto targets being "ridiculously small". A fca a system was evolved by iiasa after the study. This fca system is better than the existing accounting systems as it identifies all possible uncertain sources often ignored under the partial accounting approach, which is at present being used to identify carbon sources and sinks.

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