Jacob, James (Rubber Research Institute of India, Rubber Board,Kottayam, Kerala,
686009, INDIA; Phone: 91-481-235-3311; Email: email@example.com)
Implications of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to Indian Forestry and Commercial Plantations
J. Jacob *
With the 10th Conference of Parties to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopting the modalities and procedures for operationalising Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) activities such as afforestation/reforestation, sink projects such as commercial plantations are now included under the CDM. This article briefly reviews the history of international climate change negotiations and the current status of the Kyoto Protocol with special focus on CDM-Sink projects under LULUCF. The article is organized into four sections. The first part briefly discusses the science behind global climate change that convinced the international political community to enter into serious negotiations that lead to the genesis of the UNFCCC and the evolution of the Kyoto Protocol. The politics of climate change negotiations, the US withdrawal from the Kyoto mechanism, the recent Russian ratification of the Protocol and its timing to coincide with the US Presidential election are discussed in the second section. The three market mechanisms established under the Kyoto Protocol to help the Annex I countries meet their Kyoto targets cost effectively are discussed in the third section. The clean development mechanism (CDM) is one of the three market mechanisms established under the Protocol and this has potential benefits for the developing and the least developed countries. Through this, an Annex I country can invest in a non Annex I country in a climate-friendly project that is in tune with the sustainable developmental needs of the host country and in return obtain certified emission reduction (CER) credits for the amounts of GHGs that have been prevented from emitted into the atmosphere or sequestered from the atmosphere as a result of the project. The CERs can be used in part by the investing Annex I country to offset its QELRCs compliance under the Kyoto Protocol. Thus CDM is an innovative mechanism addressing GHG concentrations in the atmosphere through the marketplace. In the last section, the implications of the CDM for the Indian forestry and commercial plantation sectors are discussed in the light of the decision taken at the ninth Conference of Parties to UNFCCC held at Milan during 2003 to include afforestation and reforestation activities under the CDM and adoption of the modalities and procedures for afforestation/reforestation projects at CoP 10 at Buenos Aires. Apart from the carbon sequestered in the biomass, there are several activities associated with the forestry/plantation sectors that result in a reduction in GHG emission and hence qualify for CDM investment. These include production of biogas from processing effluents from plantations like coffee, rubber etc., use of rubber seed oil as bio-diesel, use of biomass gasifiers and solar thermal system for drying forestry and plantation produces, technology innovations that improve the energy use efficiency at any stage of a product manufacturing etc. Growing energy plantations in the wastelands of the country for the purpose of generating energy through biomass gasification is a particularly climate-friendly technology that is eligible for CDM funding. Using species that have a high carbon sequestration rate and water use efficiency for growing energy plantations for rural energy needs has great social, economic and environmental significance in a country like ours that has vast areas of wastelands available in the remote and rural areas where people do not have access to adequate and steady supply of energy.