Forests – the climate repair kit
Ending logging is the fastest and cheapest solution to climate change. Logging and forest destruction is now recognised as one of the main causes of climate change. In the next 24 hours, world deforestation will release as much CO2 into the atmosphere as 8 million people flying from London to New York.
According to a report published in mid May by an alliance of leading rainforest scientists known as the Global Canopy Programme (GCP), deforestation accounts for up to 25% of greenhouse gases, while transport and industry account for 14% each, and aviation contributes only 3% of the total.
But, as Sir Nicholas Stern stated, the destruction of those forests over the next four years alone will pump more CO2 into the atmosphere than every flight in the history of aviation to at least 2025.
Indonesia and Brazil are now the third and fourth largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. Neither nation has heavy industry like India or Russia, yet they comfortably outstrip all other countries’ global warming toll, except the United States and China.
The destruction of their tropical forest is spewing two billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. That forest that is annually felled amounts to 50 million acres, or an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland combined.
The remaining standing forest is calculated to contain 1,000 billion tons of carbon, double what is already in the atmosphere.
Standing forests were not included in the original Kyoto protocols until Mr Howard wanted to use our own to score carbon storage points. That helped him insist that Australia be allowed to increase its emissions, while land clearing continues but at a reduced rate.
The landmark Stern Report last year, and the influential McKinsey Report in January, agreed that forests offer the “single largest opportunity for cost-effective and immediate reductions of carbon emissions”.