Forests, everyone knows, are good for the climate – which makes it all the more important that governments and international community should work to protect them. But many current efforts to link forest conservation with climate change mitigation are sadly confused. It is important that parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change understand why.
The trouble begins with a misunderstanding of deforestation’s role in causing climate change. It is often asserted that because deforestation is responsible for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, it is also responsible for 20% of climate change. The implication is clear: other things being equal, 20% of the world’s climate change mitigation efforts should go toward trying to halt deforestation.
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