Forests, Climate Change and You: "Lost There, Felt Here" Emphasizes Global Impact of Deforestation

10/8/2008

Barcelona, Spain � People all over the world � from rural communities in Latin America to city dwellers in Europe � are hurt by global deforestation.

That is the message of a new public service advertisement released by Conservation International (CI) as part of its �Lost There, Felt Here� campaign. The new ad depicts the impact of deforestation on people everywhere by comparing tropical forests to human lungs. As the forests are destroyed and degraded, they release the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change. Today�s rate of deforestation causes 20 percent* of all greenhouse gas emissions, or more than all the world cars, trucks, airplanes and trains combined. At the same time, fewer forests mean less capacity to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.

The current United Nations climate change treaty, known as the Kyoto Protocol, does not acknowledge the role of standing forests in mitigating climate change. With the Kyoto Protocol due to expire in 2012, the international community is preparing for a subsequent international climate change agreement. CI and other groups point out the emissions reductions targets necessary to avert catastrophic global climate change cannot be achieved if we don�t conserve our remaining tropical forests and replant already degraded areas.

Colombian Environment Minister Juan Lozano will join CI President Russell A. Mittermeier, CI Regional Vice President Carlos Manuel Rodriguez and Mario Cesar Mantovani, Outreach Programs Director, SOS Mata Atlantica to discuss how protecting forests can bring the triple benefits of helping mitigate climate change, protecting irreplaceable habitat for species diversity, and providing sustainable development opportunities for local people and communities.

�Climate change has no borders. It affects everyone, no matter where they live, with the most impact on the poor and the vulnerable. Conserving forests is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to combat climate change and help people adapt to the impacts of a warming planet,� said Mittermeier. �We must send a united global message about the vital role of forests in combating climate change, and that as an international community we need to protect this global resource.�

CI currently has 15 forest carbon projects around the world designed to help mitigate climate change and enable local communities to benefit from protecting standing forests.

�Conservation of tropical forests is an immediate tool to battle climate change by reducing emissions. It also provides lasting benefits to poor people in developing countries. But we have to act now. These forests won�t last under growing economic pressures to clear them to generate income,� said Glenn Prickett, CI Climate Change Team leader, senior vice president and executive director for the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business.

�The carbon market is finally beginning to recognize that forest carbon provides a unique new opportunity to compensate tropical countries for protecting these forests at a scale far beyond anything that has been done to date, and in a way that is truly sustainable both ecologically and economically,� said Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CI Regional Vice President and former Environment Minister of Costa Rica.

For more information about CI�s �Lost There, Felt Here� campaign, visit: www.conservation.org.

To download a copy of the public service announcement, visit: www.conservation.org/barcelona2008

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Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth�s richest regions of plant and animal diversity and demonstrate that human societies can live harmoniously with nature. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents to help people find economic alternatives without harming their natural environments. For more information about CI, visit www.conservation.org.


*CI regularly reassesses our assumptions and conclusions to ensure they are consistent with the most current and reliable data sources available so that we are delivering accurate and up-to-date information.  Accordingly, in December 2009, we updated our estimates related to global greenhouse gas emissions to reflect the best and most current science. We now estimate that 16% of greenhouse gas emissions result from deforestation and logging.
See our deforestation, logging and GHG emissions factsheet (PDF - 2.7KB) for details and data sources.

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