September 6, 2007

Role of deforestation in climate change is accelerating

New research has demonstrated that slowing tropical deforestation will play an even bigger role in tackling global warming than previously thought. Without measures to compensate forest nations and communities for protecting a critical carbon store, our chances of stabilising our climate are thin.

Carbon emissions from tropical deforestation are expected to increase atmospheric CO2 concentration by up to 129 parts per million within 100 years, or more than twice what was previously modeled.

Establishing just how much carbon dioxide is produced from destruction of tropical rainforest has never been easy. New research that draws on an analysis of 80 countries with significant forest reserves gets us much closer to a clearer answer and the news is much worse than we expected. A team of scientists from Brazil, South Africa and the US have shown that unless countries with high levels of forest cover and previously low levels of deforestation are not paid to preserve this critical store of carbon, their contribution to future climate change could be far greater than previously assumed. Without Cool Earth putting avoided deforestation on the global climate change agenda, there is a real risk that the United Nations will continue to exclude all forest protection from future carbon credits.



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