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Paying to save tropical forests could be a way to reduce global carbon emissions
Date:7/23/2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio Wealthy nations willing to collectively spend about $1 billion annually could prevent the emission of roughly half a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year for the next 25 years, new research suggests.

It would take about that much money to put an end to a tenth of the tropical deforestation in the world, one of the top contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, researchers estimate.

If adopted, this type of program could have potential to reduce global carbon emissions by between 2 and 10 percent.

The calculation is one of several estimates described by a team of scientists and economists this week in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The calculations, based on three different forestry and land-use models, provide the best estimates so far of how much it would cost developed nations to participate in a program called "avoided deforestation" to reduce worldwide carbon emissions.

Under such a program, wealthy nations would help achieve reduced emissions globally by paying landowners in developing nations not to cut down wide swaths of forested land to make way for agricultural uses. Tropical deforestation, the cutting and burning of trees to convert land to grow crops and raise livestock, accounts for about a fifth of all human-caused carbon emissions in the world.

The research attaches estimated dollar amounts to each metric ton of carbon that could be saved through avoided deforestation in Africa, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia.

Based on these estimates, the overall cost to buy carbon credits would be lower than what developed nations would expect to pay to reduce emissions through regulation of industry, transportation and energy sources, said Brent Sohngen, a study co-author and professor of agricultural, environmental and development economics at Ohio State University.

"Compared to other options, an avoided deforestati
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Contact: Brent Sohngen
Sohngen.1@osu.edu
614-688-4640
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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