Spending One Billion Dollars Could Slow Tropical Deforestation by One-Tenth, Reduce Carbon Emissions by Half a Billion Tonnes Annually

brazilian deforestation photo

photo by Lou Gold

New research done at Ohio State University and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that if wealthy nations spent collectively $1 billion annually to pay landowners in tropical countries not to cut down forests half a billion tonnes of carbon emissions could be avoided annually and deforestation reduced by one-tenth. Science Daily has the complete story, but this is the gist of it:
Using three different forestry models, researchers assigned dollar values to each tonne of carbon which could be saved through 'avoided deforestation' in different parts of the world. Each has different economic and biological assumptions and calculated different values for carbon credits to calculate how much it would cost to avoid different emission levels. For example:

The cost to achieve a 10 percent reduction in global deforestation through 2030, resulting in between 0.3 billion and 0.6 billion metric tons of reduced carbon emissions annually, would cost between $2 and $5 per metric ton of carbon credit — or between $0.4 billion and $1.7 billion per year. Achieving a 50 percent reduction in deforestation, and a corresponding 1.5 billion to 2.7 billion metric ton reduction in emissions each year, would cost $10 to $21 per metric ton, or between $17.2 billion and $28 billion per year, according to the model calculations.

Paying Nations Not to Deforest Cheaper Than Other Options
Ultimately, "compared to other options, an avoided deforestation program would be relatively cheap and practical for the United States. It would save American taxpayers money and provide a huge transfer of funding from one region of the world to another, giving developing countries a large chunk of the world's economic pie to use as they see fit," study co-author Brent Sohngen was quoted as saying.

The Devil's in the Details
Though it doesn't go into how such a program would be implemented, let alone monitored, these seem to be the biggest problems with such a plan. A greater level of international cooperation and trust than we currently see on environmental issues would be required if an adequate monitoring regime were enacted. Not to say that it can't happen, only that the negotiations to make such a regime a reality may take a while.

via :: Science Daily
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