The First Annual Low Carbon Earth Summit – paving the way for future low carbon policies

Today marks the start of BIT’s First Annual Low Carbon Earth Summit, held in Dalian, China. The theme of the conference is “Leading the Green Economy, Returning to Harmony with Nature”, and it aims to promote low carbon economies and to identify ways to play an even more active role in control of global climate change.

This conference helps to highlight the growing importance of policies to reduce carbon emissions, and to encourage renewable and sustainable energy resources. Recent research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Carbon Balance and Management, demonstrates the timely need for these future policies. The study by Dr Kutsch et al. suggests that stopping or reducing deforestation in Zambia would be beneficial, but that the local people then experience a “Charcoal trap” – where woodlands and forests are protected and local residents lose their energy supply. Any investment in other energy supplies requires high investment which many countries cannot afford.

To help drive the decrease of carbon emissions and using the Miombo forests in Zambia as an example, preferably policies need to be introduced to assist poorer countries with preserving their forests and provide help with the finance and technology required to switch to a different energy supply. Alternatively, initiatives could help improve post-harvest management and charcoal production technology. These kind of approaches, applied worldwide, could then lead to substantially reduced net greenhouse gas emissions.

Another study by Dr Eduard Merger and Dr Till Pistorius, also in Carbon Balance and Management, discusses the importance of agreed standards in the over-the-counter carbon market to secure the integrity of the mitigation projects and to ensure the quality of the carbon credits. The variety of different standards can cause confusion but the pressure from the institutional environment on standards helps to ensure a minimum quality of credits which aids the integrity of standards. In essence, the forest sector in this market provides great opportunities for lessons for international climate policy when designing forest regulations.

The topic of carbon emissions and how to effectively manage the world’s resources sustainably is an increasingly important one and so BIT’s First Annual Low Carbon Earth Summit is very timely. We hope that this conference paves the way for new policies and initiatives to tackle this very important issue, and we look forward to the results.

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