Have we been underestimating emissions from deforestation? Perhaps by as much as 100%?

In a world where we are worried about global warming and carbon emissions, it is insanity that we are still cutting down trees. Recent research shows it even more insane – the carbon footprint of deforestation has been shown to have doubled in the last 2 decades.

Unfortunately, this problem is for simple reasons. Generalizing, the majority of people who are worried about global warming are in developed countries – few of these countries have an significant rainforest left, as they cut them down (often centuries ago).

In developing countries, people are less worried about global warming. Are the stupid? No, of course not. In the developed world, for the vast majority of people, we do not need to worry about where our next meal is coming from (sure there are varying levels of poverty, but on the whole dying from starvation in the west is rare). In developing countries, however, starvation is still a problem that occurs from time to time. Terrible famines have occurred within living memory, which means that the populations in these countries are more concerned with plans to stay alive, not with concerns over how difficult they are making their descendants lives.

The worlds forests contain more than a century of human carbon emissions (from fossil fuels). In other words, if we cut it all down we will blow past all possible safety points and will be well in to runaway global warming. We need to help the countries which still contain rainforest – even one off payments in the billions are not enough. The west needs to assist countries with large rainforests, particularly the Democratic republic of the Congo, Indonesia, and Brazil in growing both their economies and food production in the smallest amount of space possible, alongside significant regular payments for retaining their rainforests.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen. There is also significant differences between concern from individuals on the ground and the government. If this site succeeds we will create a marketplace for those living by rainforest to benefit, however if the government decides to cut down the forest this will not matter.

What is clear is that not only do we need to end deforestation, but we need to reverse deforestation in many places. This is not only necessary for global warming, but also for rainfall and the whole host of other reasons that benefit local people.

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