First Forest Reference Level (FRL1) 2014-2018

Linear Projection (Technically Assessed) 

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 A linearly increasing trend of historical emissions growth is observed over the historical reference period.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emission and removal of the three REDD+ activities Deforestation, Forest Degradation and Carbon Enhancement during the historical reference period from 2001 to 2013 is provided in Table 10.1.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

Historical Emissions & Removals 2001-2013 and FRL 2014-2018

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.


Source: PNG’s First National REDD+ Forest Referenc Level (FRL1)
9. The Forest Reference Level



Historical Average ( For GCF RBP Pilot) 

PNG’s recalculated Forest Reference Level for GCF RBP pilot programme

PNG did the recalculation of its FRL and REDD+ results in accordance with the GCF scorecard for the GCF RBP pilot programme. The recalculation only concerns the construction approach (i.e. only how the data is “projected” using a historical average instead of linear projection) but uses the exact same historical data points, the exact same underlying methods as the technically assessed FRL, the same scale, the same scope and the same forest thresholds.

For the purpose of recalculating the FRL for the GCF RBP pilot programme, PNG calculated average historical emissions for the period 2009-2013. In view of the rapidly changing national circumstances and rapidly increasing emissions (see Figure 1), a recent period is believed to be a better approximation of expected emissions under iness-as-usual.

Considering PNG’s HFLD status and increasing emissions over the reference period, PNG proposes an upwards adjustment to its recalculated FRL for RBPs. The scorecard provides two restrictions for upwards adjustments, namely; the FRL should not exceed 10% of historical average emissions OR 0.1% of the total carbon stock over the accounting period (i.e. 0.02% of the total carbon stock).

The average historical emissions for 2009-2013 were 39,217,752tCO2/year, therefore 10% of the FRL suggests an allowable upwards adjustment of 3,921,775tCO2/year.
The total forest carbon stock in PNG corresponding to the year 2013 was 14,772,860,913 tCO2, therefore 0.1% of the total forest carbon stock divided by the eligibility period (5 years) suggests an allowable upwards adjustment of 2,954,572 tCO2/year.

After examining the results produced by the two different methods, PNG decided to use the most restrictive limit or adjustment method which is 0.1% of the total carbon stock over the accounting period (i.e. 0.02%)

As such, the recalculated FRL (CO2 emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in Papua New Guinea in the period from 2009 to 2013) for GCF RBP pilot programme applied the following formula:

Annual emission (tCO2e) = average emissions from deforestation and forest degradation 2009-2013 + (0.001 x total forest carbon stock)/5 

PNG’s Recalculated Forest Reference Level for GCF RBP (2014-2018)


The recalculated FRL [(Historical Average (2009-2013) + Adjustment (0.02% of total carbon stock)] in Figure 6 for the period 2009-2013 has a value of 42,172,324 tCO2 eq/year compared to the Historical Average (2009-2013) which is 39,217,752 tCO2eq/year.

Recalculated Historical Average 2009-2013 FRL values for PNG


Source: PNG’s First Biennial Update Report (BUR1): Annex to Technical Annex
Chapter 2. PNG FRL and REDD+ results for GCF RBP