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Purdue researchers propose way to incorporate deforestation into climate change treaty
Date:4/22/2008

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University researchers have proposed a new option for incorporating deforestation into the international climate change treaty.

Kevin Gurney, lead author of the proposal and an associate director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, will provide testimony on Tuesday (April 22) about the proposed deforestation and climate change policy to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Earth Day.

The approach, titled "Preservation Pathway," would provide carbon credits for developing countries that both set aside a portion of existing forests and slow the rate at which the remaining forests are cut down.

A key point in the approach is its call for a deceleration of deforestation, Gurney said.

"Deceleration - continuously reducing the rate of deforestation - is the only way to ultimately reach zero," he said. "A fixed reduction or decline in deforestation will only delay complete forest destruction."

Gurney applied the idea of deceleration to the common chore of mowing a lawn.

"You could slow down the lawn mower, but it would still eventually cut down all of the grass," he said. "You have to continue to slow down at each turn until you hit the point where the mower is not moving. That's the only way to leave some uncut grass."

Tropical deforestation currently accounts for roughly one-fifth of the global emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important human-derived greenhouse gas, Gurney said.

"This approach brings together the two main goals being discussed in international climate change policy: preserving existing forest and reducing deforestation," said Gurney, who is an assistant professor in the departments of Earth and Atmospheric Science and Agronomy. "It also provides an incentive for developing countries to join in the Kyoto Treaty because they can sell the carbon credits they earn. Many developed countries will need to purchase credits to meet
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Contact: Elizabeth K. Gardner
ekgardner@purdue.edu
765-494-2081
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert

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