Last month at the Esri International User Conference, Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) received the 2012 Special Achievements in GIS Award. The award recognized CCI for using geographic information system (GIS) technology to help countries monitor their carbon levels.
CCI’s Forestry Program is developing forestry projects and carbon measurement systems that help governments and local communities receive compensation for preserving and re-growing forests. As global warming is caused by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels – and deforestation accounts for about 15% of total carbon dioxide emissions in the world – scientists predict that if governments and communities don't take action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, our world will face increasingly drastic consequences ranging from stronger heat waves to more droughts and floods to increasing sea level. All of these affect agriculture, food security, viability of coastal cities, and water availability around the world.
In order to reduce emissions, governments and economies must use less fossil fuels and increase use of energy efficient technologies and renewable technologies. CCI’s Forestry Program focuses on helping developing countries reverse deforestation and plant new trees. If countries are able to show that they can monitor and verify that they are reducing their carbon dioxide emissions, countries become eligible for funding to manage their forest programs and other low-carbon economic activities.
CCI was recognized with the 2012 Special Achievement in GIS Award for helping the country of Guyana become eligible for $70 million in forest-based payments from the government of Norway. Guyana is now using this funding to facilitate specific elements of a Low Carbon Development Plan envisioned and put in place by former Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo. This project is part of CCI’s Forestry Program and has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the governments of Norway and Australia.
CCI uses GIS technology as a centerpiece of forest carbon measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) systems for developing countries. GIS is one of three legs of the platform--Data, Models, and GIS--that allows countries to determine how much carbon they have, how it is changing, and how the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation can be monitored and adjusted as required.
With GIS systems in place for forestry, developing countries can be eligible for direct payments through international agreements based on the effectiveness of their MRV systems. Once in place, the GIS systems can be used more broadly by the countries for other resource development, land surveys, and determination of land tenure.
Read more about CCI’s forestry projects.