Misleading numbers: The Case for Separating Land and Fossil Based Carbon Emissions

January 21, 2014
Kate Dooley

The word ‘carbon’ appears with relentless ubiquity in the news and in government policy and legislation. It is discussed as if it were a simple, almost abstract and easily quantifiable substance. However, like many ubiquitous words or concepts, the term ‘carbon’ needs some unpicking. The report outlines that accounting for land use carbon emissions is imprecise, costly and resource intensive, and the word ‘accounting’ — which implies real numbers — is misleading. 

In reality, terrestrial emissions and removals are estimated figures meaning that policy makers must recognise their limitations and focus on how to reduce emissions from fossil fuels whilst establishing incentives for sustainable land use.

For those who are short of time, a summary version of this report is also available.

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