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

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.

By comparison, the United States emits an estimated 6 billion tons of carbon each year.

The researchers also estimated how per-ton carbon prices would translate into land rental prices in tropical regions. Carbon at $2 per ton could translate into rental values of $20 to $35 per hectare per year, and carbon prices of $10 per ton would trigger land rental values of $85 to $252 per hectare annually. A hectare equals the area of 2.5 acres. About 13 million hectares of land per year continue to be lost to deforestation.

"These payment levels could generate substantial financial flows to landowners who reduce deforestation," Sohngen said. "If this kind of program could stop deforestation, it would provide a bigger source of biodiversity by retaining a larger stock of tropical forest, keep carbon out of the atmosphere, and provide money to people in developing countries to pursue new forms of livelihood that don't involve cutting down trees."

The avoided deforestation cost estimates could be used in negotiations toward an updated global program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, similar to the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 and subject to enforcement in 2005. The United States has not signed that treaty, which has been ratified by 182 parties, including 137 developing countries and 36 developed countries, plus the European Union.

The Kyoto Protocol included avoided deforestation as a potential method of reducing global carbon emissions, but "it ju
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Contact: Brent Sohngen
Sohngen.1@osu.edu
614-688-4640
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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