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Cirad

Preparing the application of coconut plantations to the clean development mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol

Roupsard O., Hamel O., Rouzière A., Lamanda N., Labouisse J.P.. 2004. In : Rethinam Ponniah (ed.). Strategies for enhancing productivity and income of coconut farmers : Proceedings of the XLI Cocotech Meeting, 5-9 July 2004, Santo, Vanuatu. Jakarta : APCC, p. 164-179. Cocotech Meeting. 41, 2004-07-05/2004-07-09, Santo (Vanuatu).

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol would be an opportunity for the developing countries (DC) to collect subsidies from the carbon market. It is necessary first to collect Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), according to three possible directions: renewable energies, carbon sinks or substitution. The clauses of the CDM will be summed up briefly, the opportunities that are readily available today for the coconut sector will be enlightened and the need to get prepared to the next commitment period of the CDM will be stressed. Following (i) recent results from the coconut literature (ii) our own results of C fluxes at the scale of a coconut plantation during 3 years or from measured C stocks in the soil of a coconut chronosequence (CIRAD Project in Vanuatu), (iii) several assumptions for unknown parameters, we estimated which benefit could be expected from the C market, following the directions of the CDM: Renewable energies projects, like for example the substitution of diesel by biodiesel (methyl ester of coconut oil) are solutions readily available for CDM. Considering that the C efficiency of the biodiesel process would generate around 90% of C savings, as compared to diesel (Tan et al. 2004), it is computed here that the extra income of such projects could be around 3% more than the current copra sales. This is not including the other benefits, like for example rural development, commercial balance for energy and added value of the biodiesel product. For C sinks it was calculated from our measurements that the extra income of such projects could be around 9% more than the current copra sales. However, the major limitation today is the exclusion of all crops (including perennial crops) from the certification process during the first commitment period (2008-2012). The community of industries and lobbies that promote perennial crops might influence this debate if they were more organized or persuasive in this way, using notably scientific findings. The second major limitation is the fact that most plantations already proved to be profitable, even without subsidies, which is redhibitory. However, considering the decline of the coconut industry today, it should be possible to develop comparative ecological arguments for maintaining or even restoring the coconut activity, demonstrating that the profitability would rely on subsidies from CDM. Some solutions will be proposed and debated, according to the kind of ecosystem of reference, helped by our findings about the importance of the planting and litter management of coconut plantations for the benefit of C sequestration. Both strategies could be combined into integrated CDM projects, resulting in a 12% benefit. The rough estimations presented above should only be considered as introductory. Obviously the result can vary in a large way, depending on the ecology of the system, the initial system of reference and the copra or C markets.

Mots-clés : pollution atmosphérique; effet de serre; oxyde de carbone; accord international; Énergie renouvelable; bioénergie; huile de coco; huile végétale

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