May 15, 2007

A Thousand Words and Millions of Tons

Filed under: Climate Change — ken finn @ 9:48 pm

The Carbon Cost of Deforestation

There are times when an image changes our understanding, speaks a thousand words.

I came across this graph the other day (1). It shows the carbon emissions of the major polluting countries verses the carbon released through deforestation. The image speaks for itself.

Today and every day thousands of hectares of ancient forest are trashed. When just one hectare of forest is cleared up to 200 tons of carbon is released into the atmosphere (2).

Something which, when intact is a positive carbon sink becomes through it’s destruction a hugely negative contributor to climate change. Carbon emissions from forest destruction out weigh even what the US pumps out.

It would be too simplistic to suggest that “Avoided Deforestation” could completely mitigate the emissions of the US or China but one thing is clear. Cutting down ancient forests to grow palm oil for bio-fuels is folly of the highest order. Yet this is the outcome of the west’s current affair with so called green fuels.

We need quick, cheap solutions to mitigate our impact upon the atmosphere. Clearly the first on the list is to stop cutting down the very thing that’s saving our arses. Extending the World Bank’s BioCarbon Credits scheme to include Avoided Deforestation would provide the incentive to developing nations and landowners to protect their forests and our climate.

Sign the petition to Say No to Deforestation

(1.) http://www.environmentaldefense.org/documents/5051_CF%20Forestry%20article1.pdf
(2.) http://news.mongabay.com/2006/1031-deforestation.html