A Decision Matrix Approach to Evaluating the Impacts of Land-Use Activities Undertaken to Mitigate Climate Change
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Land-use activities that affect the global balance of greenhouse gases have been a topic of intense discussion during ongoing climate change treaty negotiations. Policy mechanisms that reward countries for implementing climatically beneficial land-use practices have been included in the Bonn and Marrakech agreements on implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. However some still fear that land-use projects focused narrowly on carbon gain will result in socioeconomic and environmental harm, and thus conflict with the explicit sustainable development objectives of the agreement. We propose a policy tool, in the form of a multi-attribute decision matrix, which can be used to evaluate potential and completed land-use projects for their climate, environmental and socioeconomic impacts simultaneously. Project evaluation using this tool makes tradeoffs explicit and allows identification of projects with multiple co-benefits for promotion ahead of others. Combined with appropriate public participation, accounting, and verification policies, a land-use activity decision matrix can help ensure that progressive land management practices are an effective part of the solution to global climate change.
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