Designer policy for carbon and biodiversity co-benefits under global change

Bryan, Brett A., Runting, Rebecca K., Capon, Tim, Perring, Michael P., Cunningham, Shaun C., Kragt, Marit E., Nolan, Martin, Law, Elizabeth A., Renwick, Anna R., Eber, Sue, Christian, Rochelle and Wilson, Kerrie A. (2016) Designer policy for carbon and biodiversity co-benefits under global change. Nature Climate Change, 6 3: 301-305. doi:10.1038/nclimate2874

Author Bryan, Brett A.
Runting, Rebecca K.
Capon, Tim
Perring, Michael P.
Cunningham, Shaun C.
Kragt, Marit E.
Nolan, Martin
Law, Elizabeth A.
Renwick, Anna R.
Eber, Sue
Christian, Rochelle
Wilson, Kerrie A.
Title Designer policy for carbon and biodiversity co-benefits under global change
Journal name Nature Climate Change   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1758-6798
Publication date 2016-03-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/nclimate2874
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 6
Issue 3
Start page 301
End page 305
Total pages 5
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Subject 2301 Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
3301 Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
Abstract Carbon payments can help mitigate both climate change and biodiversity decline through the reforestation of agricultural land1. However, to achieve biodiversity co-benefits, carbon payments often require support from other policy mechanisms2 such as regulation3, 4, targeting5, 6, and complementary incentives7, 8. We evaluated 14 policy mechanisms for supplying carbon and biodiversity co-benefits through reforestation of carbon plantings (CP) and environmental plantings (EP) in Australia’s 85.3 Mha agricultural land under global change. The reference policy—uniform payments (bidders are paid the same price) with land-use competition (both CP and EP eligible for payments), targeting carbon—achieved significant carbon sequestration but negligible biodiversity co-benefits. Land-use regulation (only EP eligible) and two additional incentives complementing the reference policy (biodiversity premium, carbon levy) increased biodiversity co-benefits, but mostly inefficiently. Discriminatory payments (bidders are paid their bid price) with land-use competition were efficient, and with multifunctional targeting of both carbon and biodiversity co-benefits increased the biodiversity co-benefits almost 100-fold. Our findings were robust to uncertainty in global outlook, and to key agricultural productivity and land-use adoption assumptions. The results suggest clear policy directions, but careful mechanism design will be key to realising these efficiencies in practice. Choices remain for society about the amount of carbon and biodiversity co-benefits desired, and the price it is prepared to pay for them.
Keyword Biodiversity
Climate-change mitigation
Climate-change policy
Ecosystem services
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 30 November 2015

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