Money, on-the-job advice and buy-in from policy makers are the biggest challenges to establishing robust measuring, reporting, and verification (MRV) systems. Countries have to increase the ambition behind their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and their NDCs must be reported transparently (i.e. in line with Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF)).
A recent survey of the countries interested in using moja global’s FLINT found that the most common challenges are lack of financial resources, peer-to-peer support and policy makers not fully understanding the technical challenges.
Moja global was created as a non-profit in 2014 by the Clinton Climate Initiative in collaboration with the governments of Australia and Canada. The goal of moja global is to collaborate on the Full Lands Integration Tool (FLINT) and similar software that can be used to track greenhouse gas emissions.
The FLINT is an advanced emissions estimation system for the land sector achievable by all countries. The land sector, collectively known as Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU), accounts for 23% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports in its most recent release of August 2019 – the Special Report on Climate Change and Land.
The good news is that the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming, can be reduced through the AFOLU sector. Vegetation and soils are capable of trapping CO2 therefore acting as carbon sinks. Article 5 of the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) draws attention to this by encouraging “activities relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” and emphasizing on “the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries…”.
FLINT models emissions and removals of greenhouse gases based on land-use maps and any other available data. The models estimate how much CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by crops or trees and how much is released when, for example, forests are cut down. All emissions and removals are then added up to obtain an estimate for a country, province or project area. Managing future greenhouse gas flows can be projected, once historical flows are known. Projections can be used to find out how policies and land management will influence future emissions.
Moja global’s work is in line with the Paris Agreement because it increases the ability of countries to analyse which options they have available to increase sinks and reduce emissions from land-related activities. International collaboration on the development of spatially-explicit, open-source modelling and analysis tools not only increase replicability and transferability, it also increases the consistency, comparability, accuracy and transparency of greenhouse gas emissions and removals estimates in line with the Paris Agreement. This will help to avoid double counting, ensuring that environmental integrity is preserved and that emission reductions are verifiable.
Two countries, Canada and Kenya, are currently using the FLINT. Users also include a number of sub-national organizations in Canada whereas several other countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania are in the testing phase.
To move from testing to reporting using FLINT, these countries will need to overcome the reported challenges: financial resources, on-the-job advice, and technical knowledge of policy makers.
Supporting countries to use the FLINT will result in more ambitious NDCs and progress reports that are in line with the Enhanced Transparency Framework.