Improving the scientific assessment of carbon sinks

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The future role of carbon sinks with reference to the Kyoto Protocol depends significantly on developing an international consensus on carbon-sink assessment and carbon accounting. A clear and practical approach is needed that allows both the scientific community and policy-makers to construct a viable operational framework. This article proposes that a new strategy be developed for carbon-sink assessment based on full carbon accounting (FCA) alongside a separate political tool for carbon accounting. This approach is derived from the experience of the European critical loads (CL) concept, which seeks to quantify levels of pollutants (such as sulfur) that can be absorbed by the environment without causing ecological harm. Crucial to the implementation of such a strategy are robust institutional settings, such as an internationally coordinated monitoring system, open and fair access to the assessment processes, and international research cooperation programs for addressing associated problems of carbon-sink activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-224
Number of pages8
JournalClimate Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Carbon sinks
  • Critical loads
  • Full carbon accounting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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