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Is tackling deforestation a cost-effective mitigation approach?

Maryanne Grieg-​Gran

Opinion paper, 2 pages

Tropical deforestation is estimated to contribute 20-25% of global CO2 emissions each year. Tropical forests have particularly high carbon stocks, holding on average 50% more carbon per hectare than forests in temperate and boreal areas. They are also experiencing the highest rates of deforestation. The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates deforestation to equal 13 million hectares per year, most of it in tropical countries. It is surprising therefore that deforestation in tropical countries has been given so little space in the flexibility mechanisms of the Kyoto protocol. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) notably allows credits for afforestation and reforestation but not for avoided deforestation. There has also been increasing attention to deforestation recently and several calls from governments of countries with tropical forest, notably Papua New Guinea, for financial mechanisms to provide positive incentives for developing countries to reduce their emissions from deforestation.

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