Meeting in Poland, while the Amazon burns

2008-12-02

in Economics, Politics, Science, The environment

Satellite images show that 11,968 square kilometres of the Amazon rainforest have been destroyed this year, 4% more than last year. The amount of carbon dioxide released when these forests are cut and burned is colossal. Indeed, reducing the destruction of tropical forest is probably the single cheapest way to reduce the rate at which greenhouse gasses are accumulating in the environment.

Hopefully, the delegates at the ongoing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Poznan, Poland will be able to make some progress on reducing deforestation. While higher cost mitigation will certainly need to take place, picking the low-hanging fruit could be a good way to make a difference relatively rapidly. That is especially important given the importance of the timing of emissions. The more steeply concentrations rise, the less time there is for any adaptation measures to be put in place. The risks of crossing critical climatic thresholds are also increased.

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