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Forest Reference Level

Forest Reference Level

Forest Reference Emission Level / Forest Reference Level

Forest Reference Emission Level and Forest Reference Level (FREL/FRL) are benchmarks for assessing the performance of implementing REDD+ activities. Before PNG begins reducing emissions from the forest sector, it must determine a starting point based on historical levels of emissions. This is known as FREL. According to international guidance, FRELs should consider historical land use change trends and national circumstances such as future development scenarios. PNG is required to develop a Forest Reference Emission Level that represents the expected evolution of GHG emissions from the forest sector in the absence of REDD+. 

Figure 10.1

Figure 1: Forest Reference Emission Level and Forest Reference Level

 

Approach Towards Establishing The Forest Reference Level

PNG proposes a FRL that exceeds historical average emissions for expected future growth of BAU emissions in the land-use sector. 

PNG is aware that most countries have projected historical emissions through using simple averages to represent their forest reference level. Only few countries have found it necessary to project an increasing trend, no country has yet projected a decreasing trend. 

Using a historical average to represent future trends implies a strong assumption about the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, namely that these remain approximately at the same level. In countries with falling emissions, using a historical average might overestimate the business-as-usual emissions during the reference period. In countries with increasing emissions, such as PNG, using a historical average would underestimate the business-as-usual emissions during the reference period.

As highlighted in the previous section on national circumstances, this future growth is anticipated as a result of the specific range of factors and supporting evidence presented concerning PNG’s drivers and projected future trends.

Quantifying expected future growth of BAU emissions in the land-use sector relies on extrapolating the trends observed during the reference period. A linearly increasing trend of historical emissions growth is observed over the historical reference period. It is extrapolated for the results-reporting period.

Regressing historical emissions on the years during the reference period delivers good statistics. Both coefficients are statistically highly significant, the determination coefficient indicates a good fit and the residuals show no remaining trends. Full regression statistics are included in the annex to this report. 

Expected Emissions For The Results-Reporting Period

CO2 emission and removal of the three REDD+ activities Deforestation, Forest Degradation and Carbon Enhancement during the historical reference period from 2001 to 2013 is provided in Table 10.1.  During the reference period, CO2 emissions of the three REDD+ activities show rapid and steady increase (Figure 10.1).  The linear model is remarkably strong with very high coefficient of determination (R2=0.84). Such trend of increasing emission is considered reflecting the national circumstance described in Chapter 8 well.  It is considered that linear model is the most appropriate to be used for PNG Forest Reference Level.

PNG Forest Reference Level is;

Annual emission (tCO2e) = 1,642,446 x Year -3,265,040,780

Figure 2: Historical Emissions & Removals 2001-2013 and FRL 2014-2018

Figure 3: Annual CO2 emission of three REDD+ activities (Deforestation, Forest Degradation and Carbon Enhancement) during the historical reference period 2001-2013

The FRL was submitted to the UNFCCC for technical assessment in January 2017. See the documents from a link click here.