IPS Correspondent Tharanga Yakupitiyage interviews United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Coordinator of Freshwater, Land, and Local weather Department TIM CHRISTOPHERSEN
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 18 2019 (IPS) – From expansive evergreen forests to lush tropical forests, the Earth’s forests are disappearing on an enormous scale. Whereas deforestation poses a big drawback to the surroundings and local weather, timber additionally supply an answer.
After a collection of eye-opening stories from the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC) to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) have been revealed in 2018, it was clear that worldwide motion is extra pressing than ever to scale back emissions and preserve the setting.
Deforestation and forest degradation account for about 17 % of greenhouse fuel emissions, greater than the complete international transportation sector and second solely to the power sector.
Tropical deforestation alone accounts for eight % of the world’s annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. If it have been a rustic, it might be the world’s third-biggest emitter, simply behind China and the United States of America.
The truth is, in response to the U.N. Conference to Fight Desertification (UNCCD), the land-use sector represents between 25 to 30 % of complete international emissions.
If such forest loss continues at the present fee, will probably be unattainable to maintain warming under two levels Celsius as pledged in the Paris Settlement.
Whereas forests characterize 1 / 4 of all deliberate emissions reductions underneath Nationally Decided Contributions (NDCs) underneath the Paris Settlement, there’s nonetheless an extended method to go to fulfil these objectives.
The United Nations Programme on Decreasing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) is amongst the worldwide teams working to reverse deforestation. It helps nations’ REDD+ processes, a mechanism established to advertise conservation and sustainable administration of forests.
IPS spoke with UNEP’s Coordinator of Freshwater, Land, and Local weather Department Tim Christophersen about the points and options surrounding deforestation. Excerpts of the interview comply with:
Inter Press Service (IPS): What’s the present state of deforestation globally?
Tim Christophersen: The speed of deforestation has slowed since 2000 globally. Sooner or later, it had even slowed by about 50 %. We nonetheless have quite a bit of deforestation—it’s simply that the price has gone down in order that’s partially excellent news.
The excellent news aspect is we see lots of restoration and reemergence of forests on deforested land. But typically these forests of course can’t exchange the biodiversity or ecosystem values that they as soon as had.
The dangerous information is that in some nations, deforestation has accelerated.
This image is combined but it isn’t all gloom and doom.
IPS: The place have you ever seen enhancements and what instances are most regarding to you?
TC: Generally, the image is sort of constructive in Europe the place forest space is growing by one million hectares per yr.
In Asia and the Pacific, the image is sort of combined with China investing closely in restoration and planting hundreds of thousands of hectares of new forests and different nations akin to Myanmar the place the tempo of deforestation is accelerating.
Lately, an space of concern is of course Brazil with modifications in management there that may in all probability weaken protections of the Amazon rainforest. We anticipate they may not be capable of maintain their constructive monitor report that that they had particularly in the years between 2007-2012 the place deforestation of the Amazon dropped by 70 %.
IPS: What has UN-REDD and REDD+’s position on this difficulty? What are some profitable case research or tales that REDD had a direct position in?
TC: REDD has, for instance, put the difficulty of indigenous rights entrance and middle to the whole debate about forests and land use.
That’s largely because of the robust position of indigenous communities in the local weather discussions and the robust safeguards that have been half of the REDD+ package deal. So these safeguards have triggered, additionally throughout different infrastructure tasks, the information and consciousness of indigenous communities that they’ve rights, that they will decide nationwide useful resource use inside their jurisdictions—that was not a lot the case earlier than.
For instance in Panama, we’ve got labored along with indigenous communities to map forest cowl and precedence areas for REDD+ investments. In Ecuador, indigenous communities have been concerned from the begin in the design of the REDD+ framework.
There are [also] different potential consumers which might be on the market and prepared to spend money on verified and clearly demonstrated reductions in deforestation.
We’ve got not seen the quantity of funding move into REDD+ that we had anticipated up to now but it’s choosing up now. We additionally hope that extra nations will come on-line with their emissions reductions that they correctly confirm with the UNFCC course of.
The difficulty is that land use and forests are about 30 % of the local weather drawback and answer—it’s a drawback that may be became an answer. It’s at present inflicting 25 % of emissions and it might take in as a lot as one-third of all the emission sequestration that we’d like.
However it has solely acquired about three % of local weather finance so there’s an enormous mismatch between the alternative that pure options present and the funding that goes into it.
IPS: Over the final yr together with throughout the current COP, many have introduced up and mentioned nature-based options. What are these, and what might such options appear to be on the floor?
TC: Nature-based options are options to local weather change or different challenges we face the place we use the energy of nature to revive or enhance ecosystem providers.
An instance can be utilizing forests for flood prevention or purification of consuming water for cities. That is fairly widespread actually but it isn’t all the time recognised. About one-third of all main cities in creating nations obtain their consuming water from forested watersheds.
If we lose these forests, that may have detrimental impacts on lots of individuals’s consuming water provide. It might typically be cheaper or a minimum of cheaper for cities, provinces or nations to spend money on preserving and restoring their forests somewhat than different options for water purification or consuming water provide.
One other instance that’s typically cited is the position of mangroves in storm safety in coastal areas. Once more, this may be cheaper to spend money on planting and conserving mangroves than constructing sea partitions or different gray infrastructure tasks that we’ve to more and more spend money on for local weather adaptation.
IPS: There are numerous initiatives round the world that contain planting timber as a method to tackle local weather change and land degradation and lots of have acquired combined critiques in phrases of its usefulness. Is it sufficient simply to plant timber?
TC: Planting timber isn’t sufficient as a result of timber are a bit like youngsters—it’s not sufficient to place the in the world, you even have to ensure they develop up correctly. That’s typically ignored that you simply can’t simply plant timber after which depart them to their destiny.
As a result of typically the causes for panorama degradation, for instance overgrazing, will in a short time get rid of any timber that you simply plant. So it’s extra a few longer-term, higher pure useful resource administration.
Planting timber might be one exercise in an extended course of of restoring degraded forests and landscapes.
There are different ecosystems which are additionally essential—peatlands, wetlands—but forests and timber will play a serious position in the subsequent decade. I’m satisfied there shall be increasingly investments into this space as a result of if timber are planted and correctly taken care of, it’s a large alternative for us to get again onto the 2 diploma goal in the Paris Settlement.
IPS: Since the planet continues to be rising in phrases of inhabitants measurement and meals wants, is there a strategy to reconcile improvement and land restoration? And do wealthier nations and even firms have a duty to assist with land restoration?
TC: Completely. I might even say land restoration on a big scale is our solely choice to reconcile the want for growing meals manufacturing and assembly the different Sustainable Improvement Objectives (SDGs) as properly most notable aim 13 on local weather motion.
With out restoration, we’re in all probability not going to realize the Paris Settlement. That half of nature-based options, large investments in ecosystem restoration is completely important and we see that increasingly firms are recognising that.
The aviation business is one of these potential consumers with their carbon discount offset scheme which known as CORSIA.
It definitely is an choice to channel financing for forest safety but there are of course limits as to how a lot emissions we will realistically offset.
Offsets are completely no alternative for very drastic, extremely formidable emission mitigation measures. We have now to very drastically and shortly scale back industrial emissions.
Offsets can perhaps tip the stability in favour of offsetting solely these emissions that may in any other case not be lowered or prevented but they don’t seem to be a alternative for robust motion on decreasing greenhouse fuel emissions from all industrial sectors together with agriculture.
The most important half of company curiosity we see in restoration is from giant agri commodity buyers and meals techniques corporations as a result of they need to safe their provide chains and that’s fairly encouraging.
*Interview has been edited for size and readability
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