Tropical deforestation is the source of nearly a fifth of annual, human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere. Recent studies by Woods Hole Research Center scientists demonstrate that during years of severe drought, tropical rainforest fires can double emissions from tropical forests. Now, an international team of forest and climate researchers has found that halving deforestation rates by mid-century would account for 12 percent of total emissions reductions needed to keep concentrations of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere at safe levels. This work is profiled in a recent issue of Science.
A policy mechanism is needed that rewards those tropical nations that succeed in lowering their emissions of heat-trapping gases from deforestation and forest degradation. This is a particularly urgent need since most of these emissions are associated with only modest economic gains, but provoke high losses of biodiversity. Such a policy mechanism is now under discussion in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Compensated Reduction" of greenhouse gas emissions from tropical forests (CR) would provide payments to those tropical nations that succeed in lowering their emissions from deforestation and tropical degradation, beginning during the second compensation period of the UNFCCC (beginning 2013). This proposal has now been endorsed by the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, which currently represents 29 tropical countries who support the CR proposal, and which formally advanced the CR proposal during the Conference of the Parties in Montreal, 2005, and will be voted on by the UNFCCC delegation in Bali Conference of the Parties in December.
"More than any other country, Brazil has demonstrated that it is feasible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from tropical deforestation", says co-author Daniel Nepstad, Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. He, along with colleague Marina Campos, showed that s
Contact: Elizabeth Braun
Woods Hole Research Center