Discussion Paper

Forest Carbon Sinks: European Union,Japanese, and Canadian Approaches

Oct 1, 2003 | Masahiro Amano, Roger A. Sedjo


This report compares the approaches of the governments of Japan, Canada, and the European Union member countries toward using carbon sinks to meet their respective Kyoto Protocol carbon reduction targets. Various policies have been proposed by which governments can sequester carbon by promoting afforestation and reforestation, slowing deforestation, andundertaking forest management activities under Articles 3.3 and 3.4. At this time, carbon emissions reduction programs are still under development, both within individual countries and within the context of the protocol. Although some of the details have been worked out, concrete definitions are often still lacking, especially as regards impermanence of forests, additionality, leakage, and socioeconomic and environmental impacts. Japan appears most likely to rely most heavily on forest and biological sinks to meet its Kyoto targets. For Canada, sinks are likely to play a rather modest role. For the EU, the role of sinks is likely to be even smaller, with sinks playing no role for some EU countries (including Sweden, our case study country). However, the final decisions have not yet been made for any of these countries, and the actual role of sinks remains to be determined.