Center for Global Development / by Jonah Busch and Jens Engelmann
[Common Dreams] Without drastic efforts to reduce deforestation, rising greenhouse gases, and unsustainable global agriculture, the planet is on track to lose a massive quantity of its tropical forests—a crucial element in the fight against irreversible climate change—in just 35 years.
Absent aggressive conservation policies, the world will lose 2.9 million square kilometers of its tropical forests by 2050, according to a new working paper published Monday by Center for Global Development (CGD) environmental expert Jonah Busch and research assistant Jens Engelmann. That’s a chunk the size of India, or one-third of U.S. land mass.
And if no changes are made to the world’s “business-as-usual” approach to agriculture, logging, and other such forces, tropical deforestation will account for more than one-sixth of the remaining carbon that can be emitted if the world is to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius…
According to a separate study published earlier this year by NASA, tropical forests are absorbing carbon dioxide at a far higher rate than previously thought, making them an invaluable resource in curbing global warming.
That’s the bad news. The good news, Busch writes, is that there are many solutions available…
Carbon pricing is one example. Applying a global fee of $20 per ton of carbon dioxide between 2016 and 2050 would keep 41 gigatons of emissions from being discharged, the researchers found.
Another option is to follow Brazil’s model of targeting greenhouse gases, which involves “satellite monitoring, law enforcement, new protected areas and indigenous territories, restrictions on rural credit, and moratoriums on unsustainable soy and cattle production,” Busch writes. “As a result of these restrictive measures, Amazon deforestation fell by nearly 80 percent since 2004 even while Brazil’s soy and cattle production increased.”..