Rob Steadman reports how, following on from their latest findings, the Global Canopy Project continue to suggest the rainforest is key to curbing climate change.
The Global Canopy Programme (GCP) has used the Stern, McKinsey and UN International Panel on Climate Change reports to conclude that the most pressing challenge facing our climate is deforestation.
They assert that the destruction of rainforests accounts for 25% of the global emissions of heat trapping gases (gases that prevent the sun’s heat from escaping into space), with transport and industry accounting for 14%.
The Oxford-based GCP call for governments and organisations to avoid technological methods of combatting climate change, including electric cars, biofuel production and sustainable energy, and put the main emphasis on saving the rainforests.
Andrew Mitchell, Founder and Executive Director of the GCP explains.
“Demand for biofuels stimulates the clearance of tropical forests […].
“The Science study showed that if rainforests, peat lands, savannahs or grasslands are converted to produce food crop-based biofuels in Brazil, Southeast Asia and the United States, 17 to 420 times more CO2 will be released than the fossil fuels they would displace.”
The report concludes that, “If we lose the rainforest, we lose the fight against climate change”.
Alarming statistics in their report suggest that destruction of the Amazonian, Indonesian, and Congo Basin rainforests will “pump more CO2 into the atmosphere than every flight in the history of aviation to at least 2025”.
Recently the GCP claimed, “Forest bonds could be key to scaling up finance to conserve the world’s rainforests” and are, “calling on governments to take action to close the gap between current financial commitments and the resources needed to protect the world’s forests.”
At the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) in South Africa this December, the GCP will use it as, “…an opportunity to focus on innovative options for financing forest conservation.
“To end forest loss, forest countries need support from industrialized countries.
“While public financing is essential, other sources of innovative financing, such as credit support for forest bonds, could be a way to leverage private-sector finance so that the public sector is not alone in efforts to scale up forest finance”.
The global demand for Timber has risen 18% last year, with wood consumption in the first quarter of 2011 up 20% from last year (Alternative Asset Analysis), suggesting a clear and growing threat to the global rainforests.
Other inherent issues are the ethical implications such as the displacement of indigenous peoples, including some of the world’s poorest people, who rely on the rainforest for food and income.
The GCP implore that, “Tropical forests are vital in the fight against climate change because they remove vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere – approximately 1.2 billion tonnes every year.
“The international community now recognises that reducing emissions for deforestation and degradation (REDD) is the largest, quickest and most cost effective means of reducing emissions between now and 2020.”