The expectations for the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) are high: by the end of the two-week negotiation process, countries should agree to resolve and terminate two negotiation tracks, agree to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and make progress on the negotiation of a new global climate treaty.
In this context, Wetlands International remains focused on the issue of peatlands and of their potential contribution to climate change mitigation efforts. Even though they cover only 0.3% of the Earth’s surface, degrading peatlands account for roughly 6% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions – making them a hotspot for emissions and opening up cost-effective opportunities for mitigation action.
What is at stake for wetlands?
A key mechanism to curb the emissions from peatlands relates to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+). Wetlands International focuses on ensuring that the monitoring, reporting and verifying (MRV) systems take organic soils into account, so that the disproportionate emissions from peatlands are not ignored when calculating the carbon emissions from forests.
We detailed our position on these issues, as well as on the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, in a submission in February 2012.
We organised a side event with the Ecosystems Climate Alliance to further discuss options for making REDD+ more effective (on Tuesday, 27 November, 15.00-16.30, Side Event Room 7). Download the flyer or the poster (1.8mb)
Download the presentations:
Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) are another priority for Wetlands International, as they provide an opportunity to address CO2 emissions from non-forested peatlands.
Together with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) we are incentivising several countries to adopt peatland NAMAs.
Opportunities for peatlands in REDD+ and NAMAs will be further explored at our side event, where the second edition of our report will also be distributed (on Thursday 6th December 2012 20.15–21.45 Side event room 2). Download the flyer
Peatlands and agriculture - mitigation, livelihood opportunities and incentives for developing countries - By Marja-Liisa Tapio-Biström, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Turning REDD+ around: breaking boundaries and bridging divisions - Working towards a balanced climate, biodiversity and community approach - By Jan Willem den Besten, IUCN NL
Paludiculture: Business opportunities for rewetted peatlands - By Jan Peters, Michael Succow Foundation, Greifswald / Germany.
Ecosystems based mitigation: from incentives to practice - Opportunities and progress in reducing emissions from peatlands - By Marcel Silvius, Wetlands International
Last but not least, Wetlands International is also working on reducing emissions from peatlands in developed countries. The GHG accounting rules for the land use, land use change and forestry sector (LULUCF) are key in this respect. If a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol is approved in Doha, developed countries have the choice to engage in peatland conservation and rehabilitation actions and to count the resulting CO2 emissions reductions against their Kyoto commitment.
Wetlands International has also made a submission suggesting that avoidance of drainage and wetland rewetting be added as new activities under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This would allow developed countries to collect carbon credits by funding mitigation actions in developing country peatland areas.
Wetlands International has been present at the climate meetings since 2005. We have developed reports on the importance of carbon rich wetlands for climate change mitigation, organised lectures, spoke to countless governments and other organisations and improved the knowledge on wetlands. See our work on peatlands and carbon dioxide emissions and our work on climate change adaptation: wetlands for reducing disaster risks and mangroves for coastal resilience.
Information on all this and more will be available at the Wetlands International booth in the exhibition centre. We look forward to seeing you in Doha, but we will also keep you posted via our blog page and twitter.