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Climate Change Research and Policy

Carbon sequestration by land use cannot be considered as the ultimate solution for reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, yet it can be effective in the short term, according to a report recently published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. The repor...
Carbon sequestration by land use cannot be considered as the ultimate solution for reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, yet it can be effective in the short term, according to a report recently published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. The report, called "Climate Change Research and Policy: Updates", has been compiled by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies. It details the recent results of global climate change research and a concluding assessment of carbon sequestration under the Joint Implementation Scheme.

The Joint Implementation Scheme was agreed under the Kyoto protocol.In the scheme, countries facing high pollution abatement costs invest in abatement in countries with lower costs and receive credits for the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emission.

The report is divided into two parts. The first focuses on the monitoring of climate change research results collected over the last year. Information on climate observation and modelling is provided as well as forcing factors of climate such as solar radiation changes and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration. Internal mechanisms are also considered, such as the effect on the atmosphere of changing ocean circulation patterns.

The second section of the report focuses on climate policy and centres around the debate of Joint Implementation Scheme and carbon sequestration through land use measures. The report stresses the importance of considering ecological and economic impacts with any implementation of new climate change policy strategies.

For example, the report suggests that although forestry and land use are the most commonly considered instruments for reducing emissions quickly at relatively low costs and little effort, the costs involved are still quite significant. The report therefore suggests that sequestration and capture of carbon by forestry and land use should be put into the context of other policies such as sustainable development in agriculture and forestry management and conservation. The report also states that environmentally based joint implementation projects should be critically reviewed. The project should only implemented if the results can be reliably monitored on a carefully selected site. In addition it is suggested that developing a standardised method for establishing the baseline of natural carbon sinks and sources which can be properly applied to each country should be regarded as a priority.
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