Author: Alexander Pfaff
Regulations such as the Kyoto Protocol aim to limit worldwide net carbon emissions and could be quite costly for Annex 1 countries. "Carbon trading" could reduce the costs of restricting emissions and has been included in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) proposals as one part of the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. For implementing any restriction using carbon trading, "baselines" for carbon are crucial for defining how much carbon can be traded. Useful estimation of forest baselines and their carbon implications has been done, but significant uncertainty about carbon baselines remains.
We discuss what has been tried and learned, focusing upon land use and specifically upon deforestation because others in this issue address carbon implications of land uses. Both baselines in small-scale sequestration projects and carbon projections at more aggregate levels are considered here. The latter include the approach taken in our team's integrated Costa Rican forest project.
Pfaff, Alexander. 2007. "What Would Have Happened? Reviewing and Improving Estimated Baselines for Tropical Forests and Sequestered Carbon," Accepted for Ecological Applications, (special issue).