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Study titled the Future of Forests: Emissions from Tropical Deforestation, 2016-2050 released

Aug 26, 2015 16:16 IST

The Washington-based Center for Global Development (CGD) on 24 August 2015 released a report on the future of tropical deforestation from 2016-2050 with and without carbon pricing policies.

The study says that in next 35 years, an area of tropical forest equivalent to the size of India will be deforested. If current trends continue, tropical deforestation will add 169 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2050, the equivalent of running 44000 coal-fired power plants for a year.

Highlights of the study
• In the absence of new forest conservation policies, 289 million hectares of tropical forest will be cleared from 2016-2050—an area about the size of India and one-seventh of Earth’s tropical forest area in the year 2000.
• It projects that this tropical deforestation will release 169 GtCO2 to the atmosphere from 2016-2050—one-sixth of the remaining carbon that can be emitted if the rise in Earth’s temperature is to be likely held below 2 °C.
• It estimates that a universally applied carbon price of 20/tCO2 dollar from 2016-2050 would avoid 41 GtCO2 of emissions from tropical deforestation while a carbon price of 50/tCO2 dollar would avoid 77 GtCO2. These prices correspond to average costs to land users of 9/tCO2 dollar and 21/tCO2 dollar respectively.  
• It corroborates the conclusions of previous studies that reducing tropical deforestation is a sizable and low-cost option for mitigating climate change.
• In contrast to previous studies, it was projected that the amount of emissions that can be avoided at low-cost by reducing tropical deforestation will increase rather than decrease in future decades.  
• It says that 89% of potential low-cost emission reductions are located in the 47 tropical countries that have already signaled their intention to reduce emissions from deforestation in exchange for performance-based finance.

It suggests that if all tropical countries implemented anti-deforestation policies as effective as those in the Brazilian Amazon post-2004 then 60 GtCO2 of emissions would be avoided.

The study
CGD’s study is based on 8 million observations of historical forest loss spanning 101 tropical countries. In the study, the spatial projections of future deforestation incorporated topography, accessibility, protected status, potential agricultural revenue, and a robust observed inverted-U-shaped trajectory of forest cover loss with respect to remaining forest cover.

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