Bipartisan Report Claims Solving the Climate Crisis “Depends on Tropical Forests”

The bipartisan Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests released an extensive report today calling on the Senate to consider tropical forest preservation as a central necessity in the climate bill in front of Congress.  The group suggests that solving the climate crisis will be “nearly impossible without urgent efforts to stem tropical deforestation.”

Ignoring this critical issue could undermine the effectiveness of any new U.S. climate policies, weaken the economy and threaten our national security in the coming decades.

The report concludes that U.S. climate policies

“must help address the pervasive effects of deforestation, which accounts for 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions – more than the entire global transportation sector. Without incorporating robust tropical forest protections into new U.S. domestic climate laws and international agreements, all our other immediate efforts – to reduce emissions, expand clean energy and improve fuel efficiency – could be undermined by the continued destruction of the world’s carbon-rich tropical forests. In fact, avoiding unacceptable risks of potentially catastrophic climate change is likely to prove nearly impossible without conserving the planet’s ‘climate forests.’”

The Commission - a coalition of business, government, national security and environmental experts co-chaired by former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee and Center for American Progress CEO John Podesta – was created last spring to provide recommendations to Congress and the President on how to reduce tropical deforestation through U.S. climate change policies.  Commissioners include former elected officials and Cabinet members, corporate CEOs, leading scientists, military brass, conservation leaders, and international development experts.

“Protecting the planet’s climate forests and fighting climate change can be the defining bipartisan issue of our time, but so far that bipartisanship has been largely absent,” writes Chafee in the new report.  “Time is running out, and our actions now will have implications for generations to come.”

The group’s main message for Congress:

The United States should help lead a global partnership to halve greenhouse gas emissions from tropical deforestation by 2020 and reach zero net emissions from deforestation by 2030 – an ambitious but achievable goal.

By working toward that goal, the U.S. would also strengthen national security by reducing international instability and helping to alleviate global poverty.

The report calls for substantial U.S. investment in developing nations - at least $1 billion annually in public funding by 2012, ramping up to $5 billion by 2020, and up to $9 billion annually in private sector funds by 2020 – in order to preserve the carbon sequestration capacity of tropical forests and stem the growth of emissions. 

“Doing so could help reduce climate costs faced by U.S. companies by up to 50 percent, saving up to $50 billion by 2020 compared to domestic action alone,” the report concludes.

Deforestation will be a key topic at the upcoming Copenhagen climate summit in December, as negotiators grapple with the effectiveness of carbon offsets and debate the balance between investments in developing nations vs. developed nations.

The report is available for download from the Commission’s website.


But saving tropical forests is a great idea. Lots of votes to be had there, and the animals will be happy to have a home.

Stopping deforestation is one of many things we need to do. But I think the rising CO2 level is caused more by our burning of fossil fuels and so we need to cut back on the use of fossil fuels as well.

CO2 is about 3.618% of all GHG. 3.502% is natural. leaves about .12% as man-made. i’ll footnote when VJ does. these stats include water vapor. of course the desmog crew would like for us not to include it for obvious reasons

Numbers without context are meaningless. The link below shows how CO2 and water vapour are linked. It’s a system, mascereye. Different parts of the system affect each other.

“…In the industrial era, human activities have added greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests.

Adding more of a greenhouse gas, such as CO2, to the atmosphere intensifies the greenhouse effect, thus warming Earth’s climate. The amount of warming depends on various feedback mechanisms. For example, as the atmosphere warms due to rising levels of greenhouse gases, its concentration of water vapour increases, further intensifying the greenhouse effect. This in turn causes more warming, which causes an additional increase in water vapour, in a self-reinforcing cycle. This water vapour feedback may be strong enough to approximately double the increase in the greenhouse effect due to the added CO2 alone…”

“For example, as the atmosphere warms due to rising levels of greenhouse gases, its concentration of water vapour increases, further intensifying the greenhouse effect. This in turn causes more warming, which causes an additional increase in water vapour, in a self-reinforcing cycle. This water vapour feedback may be strong enough to approximately double the increase in the greenhouse effect due to the added CO2 alone”

The papers I see indicate the feedback is small, and may even be negative, not positive. The climate models just are guessing. The CERN project is designed to sort this out. You need to do some reading.

In the meantime, don’t go outside without a winter coat.. it is getting COLD out there.

“deforestation … accounts for 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions – more than the entire global transportation sector”

good info - now consider this - out of the entire CO2 emission pie 17% is deforestation related and something less than 17% is in transportation - lets say 16% as a generous guess - that means a minimum of 67% from other sources.

If 2 absolute miracles happen in the next … 50 years?… and we cut transportation CO2 and deforestation CO2 … drastically - 80 or 90% (without killing the world economy) - then we still have perhaps 75% of the current total emissions.

looks like a very tough job to knock down those emissions.

“…Fossil fuel combustion (plus a smaller contribution from cement manufacture) is responsible for more than 75% of human-caused CO2 emissions. Land use change (primarily deforestation) is responsible for the remainder…”

Fossil fuel would include transportation, power plants (coal, etc) and so forth.

So says this fellow:

Scientist: Carbon Dioxide Doesn’t Cause Global Warming
October 07, 2009 04:15 PM ET | Paul Bedard | Permanent Link | Print

By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

A noted geologist who coauthored the New York Times bestseller Sugar Busters has turned his attention to convincing Congress that carbon dioxide emissions are good for Earth and don’t cause global warming. Leighton Steward is on Capitol Hill this week armed with studies and his book Fire, Ice and Paradise in a bid to show senators working on the energy bill that the carbon dioxide cap-and-trade scheme could actually hurt the environment by reducing CO2 levels.

“I’m trying to kill the whole thing,” he says. “We are tilting at windmills.” He is meeting with several GOP lawmakers and has plans to meet with some Democrats later this week.

Much of the global warming debate has focused on reducing CO2 emissions because it is thought that the greenhouse gas produced mostly from fossil fuels is warming the planet. But Steward, who once believed CO2 caused global warming, is trying to fight that with a mountain of studies and scientific evidence that suggest CO2 is not the cause for warming. What’s more, he says CO2 levels are so low that more, not less, is needed to sustain and expand plant growth.

Trying to debunk theories that higher CO2 levels cause warming, he cites studies that show CO2 levels following temperature spikes, prompting him to back other scientists who say that global warming is caused by solar activity.

In taking on lawmakers pushing for a cap-and-trade plan to deal with emissions, Steward tells Whispers that he’s worried that the legislation will result in huge and unneeded taxes. Worse, if CO2 levels are cut, he warns, food production will slow because plants grown at higher CO2 levels make larger fruit and vegetables and also use less water. He also said that higher CO2 levels are not harmful to humans. As an example, he said that Earth’s atmosphere currently has about 338 parts per million of CO2 and that in Navy subs, the danger level for carbon dioxide isn’t reached until the air has 8,000 parts per million of CO2.

Steward is part of a nonprofit group called Plants Need CO2 that is funding pro-CO2 ads in two states represented by two key lawmakers involved in the energy debate: Montana’s Sen. Max Baucus and New Mexico’s Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

H. Leighton Steward, oil and gas guy. Oh there’s a credible voice (eyes rolling).

And EdB already knew this if he paid attention to this post:

So EdB is dishonest.

Hey EdB, which plants way up in the sky are helped by the CO2 up there which is helping heat up the earth?

You need more than broken hockey sticks and scary models to convince the public you are correct on CO2. The physics might be with you, but the world does not function like a laboratory. Water vapour and oceans dominate. CO2 is like a sparrow hitting a Mack truck. Sure, with some hard work, you might find an effect, but the average Joe will ignore it.

Why not solve real problems instead?

Svensmark: “global warming stopped and a cooling is beginning” – “enjoy global warming while it lasts”
10 09 2009

“In fact global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. No climate model has predicted a cooling of the Earth – quite the contrary. And this means that the projections of future climate are unreliable,” writes Henrik Svensmark.

uh oh - after we all go green, theres gonna be a whole lot more lying, stealing and cheating.

Watch your back in the green mean future.

“Those lyin’, cheatin’ green consumers,” begins the statement from the university. “Buying products that claim to be made with low environmental impact can set up ‘moral credentials’ in people’s minds that give license to selfish or questionable behavior.”

“The old adage is right: You can never trust a hippy.”