Scientists’ urge international body to protect and regrow forests as a real climate issue

"...our message as scientists is simple: Our planet's future climate is inextricably tied to the future of its forests."

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Image Credit: Erika P. Rodriguez/The New York Times

Scientist worldwide are warning the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change about forest carbon emissions. Forty scientists sent a clear message through a written statement: “Avoiding forest carbon emissions is just as urgent as halting fossil fuel use.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is “the international body for assessing the science related to climate change” and was established in 1988 to provide policy makers with regular assessment of climate change impacts, future risks and adaptation and mitigation.

According to The Guardian, the scientists advised the IPCC should preserve and regrow forests in an effort to keep global warming at 1.5º Celcius above industrial levels.

“While high-tech carbon dioxide removal solutions are under development, the ‘natural technology’ of forests is currently the only proven means of removing and storing atmospheric CO2 at a scale that can meaningfully contribute to achieving carbon balance,” the scientists said in a statement.

The scientists outlined the need as to why preserving and regrowing forests is combative to climate change, EcoWatch reported:

  1. The world’s forests contain more carbon than existing oil, natural gas and coal deposits combined.
  2. Forests remove one quarter of the carbon dioxide humans release into the atmosphere.
  3. Reforestation and improved forest management could reduce greenhouse gas emissions 18 percent by 2030.
  4. Solutions like Beccs are untested, and it is better to preserve land for natural carbon sinks like tropical forests or peatlands.
  5. Tropical rainforests cool the climate and create rainfall for agriculture.

“In responding to the IPCC report, our message as scientists is simple: Our planet’s future climate is inextricably tied to the future of its forests,” the scientists said.

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