Wednesday, December 05, 2007



This is important, so I'm posting it as reported at Mongabay. Follow the link to their treasure trove of vitally important rainforest information.

Amazon deforestation could be reduced to zero at $3 carbon price
Rhett Butler,
December 4, 2007

The Amazon rainforest could play a major part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that result from deforestation, reports a new study published by scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center, the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da AmazĂ´nia, and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. At a carbon price of $3 per ton, protecting the Amazon for its carbon value could outweigh the opportunity costs of forgoing logging, cattle ranching, and soy expansion in the region. 2008 certified emission-reduction credits for carbon currently trade at more than $90 per ton ($25 per ton of CO2).

The report, published as more than 10,000 policymakers and scientists meet for UN climate talks on the Indonesian island of Bali, presents a conceptual framework for estimating the costs to tropical nations of implementing programs to reduce emissions by reducing deforestation (REDD). During the 1990s, tropical deforestation and forest degradation contributed 7 to 28% of global, human-induced carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Cutting deforestation would reduce these emissions as well as provide other ecosystem services.

The report, titled "The Costs and Benefits of Reducing Carbon Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in the Brazilian Amazon," uses Brazil as a case study for REDD. Brazil is home to the bulk of the world's remaining tropical forest cover but has had the world's highest average annual loss of forest for more than three decades. Nevertheless, Brazil's forests contain more carbon (38-56 billion tons in the Amazon alone) in tropical forest trees than any other country.

The study argues that reducing deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon to zero over a ten year period from a current average of 20,000 square kilometers per year is not only acheivable at a low cost ($8 in direct government outlays and $18 billion in forgone opportunity costs over 30 years), but would bring benefits to a wide range of Brazilians, including some of the country's poorest people--forest dwellers--who would see their income double. The initiative would also reduce fire-based costs to society (respiratory illness, deaths, agricultural and forestry damages) of $10 to $80 million per year, protect the rainfall system that fuels the Brazilian grain belt and hydroelectric energy generation, and conserve the Amazon's unmatched biodiversity. Importantly the effort would reduce carbon emissions 6 billion tons below the historical baseline and 13 billion tons below projected levels.

Daniel Nepstad (2007). The Costs and Benefits of Reducing Carbon Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in the Brazilian Amazon [PDF]. The Woods Hole Research Center. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP), Thirteenth session. 3-14 December 2007

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