The Global Canopy Programme (GCP) welcomes the recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Working Group 1 with respect to its Fifth Assessment Report on the physical science basis (AR5). GCP wholly supports the findings of AR5 and notes with increasing concern that tropical deforestation continues to play a critical role with respect to climate change.
IPCC AR5 findings with respect to tropical deforestation and land use change:
Net carbon emissions from land-use change during the past decade (mainly from deforestation) are estimated at 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2e annually – around 10% of all human emissions. Carbon emissions derived from land use change continue to be a major contributor to global warming only superseded by the burning of fossil fuels.
Tropical deforestation carbon emissions form the majority of land use change emissions (according to the Pan report in 2011, gross carbon emissions from forests are estimated to be 10.3 billion tonnes of CO2e – nearly twice total annual US greenhouse gas emissions).
Tropical forests provide extremely valuable carbon sinks in existing intact forests and forest regrowth. Forest regrowth contributes significantly to lower net carbon emissions.
Andrew Mitchell, Executive Director, The Global Canopy Programme states “We are increasingly seeing from AR5 and other reports that limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius will be an extremely challenging task requiring urgent and aggressive carbon mitigation actions. It is therefore imperative that governments, policy makers and the private sector come together at the forthcoming international climate change negotiations in Poland to give tropical forests and the drivers of deforestation the strategic focus that they need so that solutions can be rapidly deployed in order to help bridge the ever increasing greenhouse gas emissions gap.”
He goes on to say “Tropical forests are some of world’s richest and most valuable forms of natural capital and are being degraded on an unprecedented scale due to an increasing population and changing patterns of consumption. They pump water around the planet, remove CO2 from the atmosphere, support the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people and underpin the economies of entire regions. Deforestation provides short-term profits for some, but its costs to the global economy are estimated at between $2 – 5 trillion per annum.”