Verification Times Underlying the Kyoto Protocol: Global Benchmark Calculations.
IIASA's Sustainable Boreal Forest Resources (FOR) Project is in the process of deriving full carbon accounts for a number of countries (Russia, Austria, Ukraine, etc.). These carbon accounts permit the Project to make generalized findings and to identify knowledge gaps relevant to the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. In this study we focus on two questions that are central in this process: 1. What are the verification times arising from the different methods of carbon accounting, and can they be expected to be compatible with the commitment periods foreseen by the Kyoto Protocol? 2. How do verification times change as a result of changes in our knowledge of the underlying uncertainties? To address these questions, we describe the concepts of favorable and unfavorable verification and calculate the verification times for four global-scale examples. We consider full carbon accounting (FCA) and partial carbon accounting (PCA) under both business-as-usual conditions and in combination with a global afforestation program. Although global in scale, the results of our calculations allow us to draw sub-global conclusions. These conclusions refer to: -which of the two carbon accounting approaches (PCA or FCA), either in combination with Kyoto compliant land-use, land-use change, and forestry (LUCF) activities or not, represents the most practical method for implementing the Kyoto Protocol; and, if the Kyoto Protocol is based on PCA under partial inclusion of biological sources and sinks resulting from direct human induced land-use change and forestry activities , to -whether countries can gain an advantage over other countries by positioning themselves under unfavorable verification conditions by implementing Kyoto compliant LUCF projects; and -whether the implementation of Kyoto compliant LUCF projects increases the difficulty of validating sub-global Kyoto compliant carbon reporting, thereby increasing the difficulty in conducting FCA-based carbon research at large spatial scales.
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