Forests Are the Forgotten Climate Solution, Experts Say
Can protecting forests help save the planet? Environmentalists are hoping the answer is yes.
A group of Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and community leaders are gathering in San Francisco on September 12 to discuss solutions they hope will mitigate the impacts of climate change.
They’re hoping to reach a solution they’re calling 30×30. It’s a target set specifically to reach goals set forth by the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce carbon emissions, and the organizations attending the summit think sustainably managed forests and land can meet 30 percent of the targeted emissions reduction.
What can forests do to reduce carbon emissions?
Large forests are capable of sucking up large amounts of carbon. Swaths of forest like those found in the Amazon, the largest forested region on the planet, act like a sink to remove emissions from the atmosphere.
Global Forest Watch, which monitors deforestation in real time, estimates that between 2001 and 2017, 800 million acres of tree cover was lost. Much of that was driven by agriculture, logging, and cattle ranching.
The San Francisco summit will focus on solutions that allow these industries to grow but under regulations that enforce sustainability.
Frances Seymour from the World Resources Institute says countries have the capacity to enforce sustainable forest management, but it’s political will that stands between their goals and reality.