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The role of forests in emission reduction pledges (INDC) of relevant Non-Annex I-parties

Involved Institutes HF Institute of Wood Research

Analysis of the land use sector in INDCs of relevant Non-Annex I-parties on the road to Paris 2015

The international community has committed itself to adopt a global climate agreement in Paris in 2015, which shall enter into force in 2020 and shall be legally-binding for all. In advance of the negotiations, parties shall submit the so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), providing the voluntary national emission reduction pledges post 2020. For the purposes of § 14 of the Lima Call for Climate Action parties may also provide information on whether and in what manner removals are taken into account. Removals are synonymous for the land use (LU) sector that can serve as a carbon sink or source, depending on the management and the national circumstances.

Background and Objective

Climate negotiations in the past have shown that the accounting rules that result from the special role of the land use sector have a major impact on the accounting of emissions and removals (in the sum: net-removals), and thus on the pledged overall emission reduction targets. Since the international community has yet not been able to agree on binding accounting rules for post-2020, every party can decide on its own, how it considers net-emissions from land use in its INDC. This uncertainty presents a challenge regarding the assessment of national and global reduction targets, as national profitable accounting rules, especially from countries with large forest areas, could significantly weaken the overall ambitious level.

Target Group

The analysis were conducted for german and european negotiators of the land use sector. Further, the results will be published in a Thuenen Working Paper.


Analysis of the INDCs on the base of a templates


With our analysis of the land use sector in relevant Non-Annex I-INDCs, we critically reflected the (potential) role of forests for the national reduction targets. The analysis has shown that the assessed parties have taken advantage of the missing common rules and designed their reduction targets in a variety of ways. This variety risks transparency, completeness and comparability of information and complicates the assessment of ambition and fairness. The remaining issues that could not be answered with the data provided confirmed the need for independent technical review by UNFCCC experts of emission data and assumptions behind future emission development. These reviews could assure that the quality of pursuing negotiations of reduction targets would not be compromised. At the present state, the inclusion of the LU sector and its impact on a future climate agreement remain a source of uncertainty.

List of Publications

  1. 0

    Hargita Y, Rüter S (2015) Analysis of the land use sector in INDCs of relevant Non-Annex I parties. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 82 p, Thünen Working Paper 50, DOI:10.3220/WP1447228551000

Funding Body

  • Umweltbundesamt (UBA)
    (national, öffentlich)


3.2015 - 8.2015

More Information

Project status: finished

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