A new report by WRI and the Rights and Resources Initiative, to be released on July 24th, shows governments can meet their climate change mitigation targets by protecting community forest rights. We caught up with the report’s lead author, Caleb Stevens, to find out why community forests are so important—both for human rights and for curbing climate change.
Staying on world’s current emissions trajectory will cost 3.5-4 percent of global GDP by 2100 and then continue to rise, thanks to damages incurred by unmitigated sea level rise, extreme weather, and other impacts. On the other hand, a draft paper from the Agreement for Climate Transformation 2015 (ACT 2015) initiative lays out three ways countries can forge an international climate action plan that limits global temperature rise to 2°C. These strategies would only cost about 1.5-2 percent of global GDP by 2100—factoring in mitigation and adaptation costs, damage caused by climate impacts, and some co-benefits—and would yield further economic benefits over the long term.
According to data from Global Forest Watch, an online mapping platform that tracks deforestation in near-real time, industrial development and forest fires in Canada’s tar sands region has cleared or degraded 775,500 hectares (almost two million acres) of boreal forest since the year 2000. That’s an area more than six times the size of New York City. If the tar sands extraction boom continues, as many predict, we can expect forest loss to increase.