Blog Action Day Post: Save the Forests, Save the Climate

I’ve said before that climate change is not just an environmental issue, but it turns out that a famous tree hugger cause has a big role in global warming.  Deforestation is responsible for about 20 percent of global GHG pollution — more than all the world’s cars, trucks, planes, and ships combined.

There is some good news on this front, though.

Indonesia, the third biggest carbon polluter in the world, has pledged emissions cuts of 26 percent below “business as usual” levels by 2020. These cuts would be achieved by reducing deforestation, which produces 80 percent Indonesia’s emissions.  Interestingly, the President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has said that the country could even achieve a 41 percent reduction with international support.

luiz-lulu-da-silva-WI-1008-lgBrazil is also willing to reduce deforestation.  AFP reports:

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Tuesday he will offer to reduce the pace of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest by 80 percent by 2020 when he attends December’s global climate talks in Copenhagen….

“We’re in the process of preparing our proposal for Copenhagen,” Lula said on his weekly radio program, Coffee with the President.  “I foresee that by 2020 we will be able to reduce deforestation by 80 percent; in other words, we will emit some 4.8 billion fewer tons of carbon dioxide gas.”

Brazil’s rain forest, the largest on Earth, is shrinking at the rate of some 12,000 square kilometers (or 7456.454 miles) per year because of deforestation.

Unsurprisingly, developing nations do expect rich countries (like the U.S.) to help in their reduction goals:

Lula said he will also demand in Copenhagen that industrialized countries pay their fair share of the costs of reducing greenhouse gases. Proposals offered by developed countries should not only cover “initiatives to reduce their emissions, but all the other harm they already have inflicted on the planet,” the Brazilian leader said.

It may sound unfair, but we have to remember that a lot of the deforestation in developing countries isdeforestation_boliviadriven by industrial nations.  For instance, more than 100 fashion and luxury brands in America and Europe buy custom shopping bags from Pak 2000, an affiliate of one of Indonesia’s largest forest-destroyers (For more on this, check RAN’sDon’t Bag Indonesia’s Rainforests” campaign).

According to a WWF-Sweden report (and many other sources) halting forest loss is one of the most cost-effective ways of mitigating climate change.  Although it won’t solve the earth’s climate crisis, but it would be a huge step in the right direction.

Now that more and more nations are stepping up to the global climate plate, the U.S. has no excuse to lag behind.  Provisions in Waxman-Markey would help reduce deforestation, and hopefully the bill that reaches Obama’s desk will have similar features.

We can’t pass a strong climate bill ourselves, but we can make sure our leaders know that we want climate action.  Over 9,000 blogs are participating in Blog Action Day, and that’s just the beginning.  In the coming months, even the next few weeks, many more people will make their voices heard in many different ways.  If you want to be a part of something big, now is the time.


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