Remedying Discord in the Accord
Accounting Rules for Annex I Pledges in a Post-2012 Climate Agreement
This paper provides recommendations and options for harmonizing accounting rules for developed country, or Annex I, emissions reduction pledges for a post-2012 climate policy under discussion in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change‘s (UNFCCC) Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) negotiations track.
The Conference of the Parties (COP) should include the following elements in a decision to enhance the integrity of a climate agreement for the post-2012 period: (1) a decision to develop consistent, complete, comparable, transparent, and accurate accounting rules; and (2) a decision to clarify the assumptions underlying Annex I pledges.
Our recommendations assume pledges would be recorded in a decision, in some form or another, recognizing that these pledges are inadequate to meet the objective of the UNFCCC. We neither prejudge the final legal form of an agreement, which could range from a set of decisions under the UNFCCC to a number of articles integrated into a future legally binding agreement, nor Annex I participation in legal outcomes under the Kyoto Protocol and/or AWG-LCA negotiations tracks.
The decision relating to comprehensive (i.e. including covered greenhouse gases and sectors; land use, land-use change and forestry; national and international offsets; and surplus allowances) accounting rules should ―request the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) to develop measurement, reporting and verification guidelines, building on Part I of the Guidelines for the Preparation of Annex I National Communications,1 and as called for by the Copenhagen Accord, to ensure that accounting of Annex I Party targets is consistent, complete, comparable, transparent and accurate, for consideration by the COP at its next session.
The decision relating to clarification of the pledges should seek additional information from Annex I Parties by way of a supplemental form that addresses: coverage of greenhouse gases and sectors; land use, land-use change and forestry; national and international offsets, including double counting; and surplus allowances remaining from the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
Additional recommendations and options regarding harmonizing accounting rules are contained in the body of this paper.
This paper addresses accounting rules relating to developed country, or Annex I, emissions reduction pledges for a post-2012 climate policy under discussion in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) negotiations track. These accounting rules are closely linked to the need to clarify the assumptions of Annex I emissions reduction pledges inscribed in the Copenhagen Accord. In addition, accounting rules for Annex I pledges are necessary for tracking aggregate performance toward meeting global temperature targets and for assessing and comparing emissions reductions. Options are provided for consideration by Parties to address the following issues:
- coverage of greenhouse gases and sectors;
- accounting rules for land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) emissions reductions and enhanced removals;
- accounting rules for domestic and international offsets, including avoiding double counting; and
- surplus emissions allowances remaining from the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
This paper explores the implications of the failure to develop harmonized accounting rules for the above elements, and provides options to mitigate the consequences of unharmonized rules.