Deforestation leading cause of Global Warming

Written by Branden Barber

Topics: Learn, Oil

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OK – we know that forests trap carbon which helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We know that planting trees and restoring forests increases the depth of this carbon trap. We know that transportation and power generation are great emitters of greenhouse gases. But have a look at this article from Daniel Howden, via The Independent, where he pulls information from research done by the Oxford-based Global Canopy Program and others to show that by preserving forests we are not only reducing atmospheric carbon, but that we are preventing the greatest CO2 emissions possible.

Deforestation: The hidden cause of global warming
In the next 24 hours, deforestation will release as much CO2 into the atmosphere as 8 million people flying from London to New York. Stopping the loggers is the fastest and cheapest solution to climate change. So why are global leaders turning a blind eye to this crisis?
By Daniel Howden – Published: 14 May 2007

Online article here

The accelerating destruction of the rainforests that form a precious cooling band around the Earth’s equator, is now being recognised as one of the main causes of climate change. Carbon emissions from deforestation far outstrip damage caused by planes and automobiles and factories.

Worth a read.

21 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Jacquie Hoggard says:

    Please do all that is in your power to stop deforestation, particularly around the equator. The wealthier countries must meet with the poorer nations to see what can be done to stop the clearing of forests – changing a lightbulb, or even changing auto omissions does not stand a chance as long as the tree-cutting continues on this gigantic action!

    Encourage their understanding of what it causes, and perhaps they will see the problem, and join in the solution.

  2. It’s good to see this awareness finally taking hold at RAN. But the biggest culprit today is investment in biofuel, fueled by visions of carbon credits. How many hundreds of thousands of square miles have been felled in the last 10 years to grow sugar cane in the Amazon, Soy Beans in the Congo, and Oil Palms in Asia? Keep track – your press officer still hasn’t called me back with this important bit of data.

    Not only does the burning during removal of the tropical forest release CO2, but the earth loses perennial forests when tropical rainforest is cut, and ongoing CO2 uptake is compromised. When tropical forests are removed, rainfall is diminished, and the global monsoon circulation – essential to reducing extreme weather – is weakened.

    We have now removed over 5.0 million square miles of tropical rainforest, and less than 3.0 million remain. By the logic of your letter, which I agree with wholeheartedly, we need to put about 2.0 million square miles of rainforest back. Carbon credits need to pay for removal of biofuel plantations in order to reforest, anywhere tropical rainforest once stood. That would be a good use of funds.

  3. allie says:

    actually, when the graph was written down about global warming, it said that as the carbon dioxide emmisions go up, the earths temperature goes up. The man made a mistake. He mean to put as the earths temperature goes up, carbon dioxide emmisions go up. He has admitted to this mistake himself. just thought i would say that. =]

  4. alice says:

    i personally think hat we have become rich in the thir world countries by cutting down our forests an now we are trying to tell these people that they cannot become rich by doing the same!

  5. Frank Davies says:

    Any plans by the rainforest action network to start campaigning on tropical rainforest conservation again? You have really lost your focus.

  6. Drew says:

    Hey, I find this all very interesting. I am particularly interested about deforestation in developing countries and not only environmental problems that it has cause but the humanitarian issues as well (i.e. pol pot, the congo civil war). I was wondering if the link that you put up further on the page is not working or if my computer just can’t access it, but I would very much enjoy reading that report. Kind doing what your doing. Take care.

  7. Stan says:

    Drew, it looks like the Independent fiddled with the URL for the article. It should be working again.

  8. Stan says:

    Ed and Frank, a whole team of RAN campaigners just got back from a research mission to the Brazilian Amazon (and other delicate ecosystems in that area). We’re definitely aware of how climate change, deforestation, human rights abuses, poverty, etc. are all linked. We’re trying to balance the urgency of the environmental peril with the time it takes to act in a smart and strategic way.

    Rest assured, we’ve got a whole bunch of full-time staff working on this issue now.

  9. jack says:

    deforistation is should be stopped at once there are other ways to get wood from westy and jack…………..

  10. jack says:

    deforistation is should be stopped at once there are other ways to get wood from westy and jack…………..ty

  11. keeton says:

    i bum trees

  12. Martin Shaw says:

    I believe that global deforestation is the biggest man-made source of global warming. The problem with current analyses is that they only look at emissions from deforestation or fuel burning. They disregard the impact of loss of carbon sinks. Look at the 1994 data at

    Human emissions of CO2 from fuel burning are about 5 Gt/yr globally. Photosynthetic uptake from terrestrial biota is over 100 Gt/yr. However, it is known that about half of the Earth’s forests are already gone. This means that the pre-industrial level of terrestrial uptake may have been in the order of 200 Gt/yr. You can’t do what Kyoto does and assume that we have to go back to 1990 levels to fix the problem. Most of the damage was done by then.

    Hence, if we are able to completely eliminate all carbon emissions, global warming will not stop until the carbon sink is re-established. On an annual basis, the existing reduction in the carbon sink (100 Gt/yr) is about 20 times the anthropogenic CO2 emissions (5 Gt/yr)

  13. helga says:

    deforestation causes loss of wildlife and nutrients in the soil

  14. stephanie says:

    i reckon the exact same as helga

  15. hey. i’ve done multiple reports on deforestation, mostly in south america, and i think this site should show a more broad understanding of it.

  16. aditi says:

    i was intented to know about deforestation for its my subject in bio and i needed to preapere some good points on it for my borads thank you for helping meeeee

  17. Warrick says:

    world Leaders havent even considered that deforestation is a cause of global warming! THEY NEED TO CATCH A WAKE UP!

  18. girl at school! says:

    i loveeeee monkeys i really want one xxx

  19. jamey craig says:

    i dont really know where to begin,But to start,there have got to be methods and actions put into place immediately,by the responsible,/or more rightly,the irresponsible governing agencies in control to at least put seriously strong/restrictions and limits on all the greedy, irresponsible,ignorant logging company’s that are currently destroying not only one of,if not the most wonderful, fascinating,species rich communities,parts of the earth,most of which is completely senseless and unecessary,

  20. jamey craig says:

    cont. but even ban theyr’e existence outright,alltogether, (Prefered). With more practical,sustainable alternative wood crops, bamboo species,for one great example,and yes,even cannabis for fiber use,(hint,hint.)there’s an idea MR. president.One of our greatest presidents, Mr George Washington had the right idea promoting its use,hey, if alcohol is legal….. not to mention the planet would be healthier,w/cleaner h2o, and also, we would have clean,pure oxygenated air,something we all could use more of. thanx, jamey c.

  21. Suban says:

    Well, im a GCSE student doing as case study on whether humans are causing global warming? this deforestation is a good point but there is much more to it. is anyone able to explain the steps of deforestationa and its cause of global warming? thank you.

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