By Cameron Chai
A new EU study finds that countries that claimed to have cut down their greenhouse gas (GHG) discharges may actually have moved their emission levels to another country or countries by bringing in wood, timber and food products from it/them.
The research stresses on the requirement to plug this loophole in calculating the current emission targets.
The research finds that bowing to the worldwide pressure to cut down GHG discharges from farming or land use some of the countries such as Costa Rica, Vietnam and China have appreciably developed the forested areas but have increased their overseas trade to meet the growing forestry products need. The researchers have named the ambiguity as ‘Emission Embodied in Trade' (EET), which indicates that the national GHG records will account only the forest resources utilized in their own country and not the carbon foot print left in the production of products in the country that produced it.
According to the researchers most of the developing countries try to meet the severe UN REDD+ standards1 through reforestation and by importing goods from other countries. The research finds that over 50% carbon dioxide emission reductions related to reforestation methods is nullified due to the increase in overseas trades to meet the growing demand for the forestry products. The researchers caution that non recognition and inclusion of EET in future discussions on REDD+ will only support the emission shift through trade and tend to hinder the goal to restrain worldwide carbon discharges through the use of land.
The study suggests for urgent needs to streamline and standardize the Eco labeling strategies that have come in the USA and Europe, which are utilized to assess the emission level related to the life cycle and supply chain of every product. It mentions the important role of governments to up keep the records on trade patterns and land usage and suggests setting up motivators and guidelines to prevent unlawful trade of wood and timber products.
The researchers suggests that the participation of consumers in demanding for green products along with government initiatives to include EET in computing the environmental footprint of a product will bring in more influence and real changes in the use of land.