Forest sinks and the Kyoto Protocol

Hon Pete Hodgson
Convenor
Ministerial Group on Climate Change

16 July 2001

The Government today released an information document on forest sinks and the Kyoto Protocol as part of its efforts to improve understanding of climate change issues.

A forest sink is a growing or expanding forest that absorbs and stores carbon. Sinks help mitigate climate change because CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, where it would otherwise contribute to global warming.

Under the Kyoto Protocol New Zealand would receive "sink credits", based on the carbon in forests planted since 1 January 1990 on previously non-forested land.

New Zealand's "Kyoto forests" are expected to remove approximately 113 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the protocol's first commitment period of 2008-2012. Sink credits could generate significant revenue for New Zealand in international carbon trading.

The information document explains forest sinks and presents the first discussion of how a system to manage New Zealand's forest sinks might operate.

"This document is an important step to help the forestry sector's involvement in the development of New Zealand's domestic climate change policy for forest sinks," said Pete Hodgson, Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change.

"Formal consultation on a system to manage New Zealand's forest sinks is due to begin in August, following publication of a further discussion document detailing the Government's policy options."

The information document provides opportunity for feedback by 10 August 2001.

Climate Change negotiations in Bonn this week are likely to provide more detail on the Kyoto Protocol rules that will govern forest sinks.

Copies of the information document are available from the Publications Officer, MAF Information Bureau, 04 474 4100, PO Box 2526, Wellington, from www.maf.govt.nz  and www.climatechange.govt.nz 

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