Which is more important? Forests or Food Crops.Forests are lovely. Food crops are more nourishing. United States and China are the world’s top greenhouse-gas emitters. What may be surprising is the country that is third: Indonesia. Indonesia is a major culprit not because of its traffic or power plants, but because of its massive deforestation. Deforestation accounts for almost 20 percent of global emissions — more than the world’s entire transportation sector. But saving the trees — as beneficial as it would be to the changing climate — comes at a significant cost as a growing, wealthier population competes for food, says a new MIT study.
With a larger and wealthier population, both energy and food demand will grow.The resulting environmental change can reduce crop yields, and require even more land for crops. So this could become a vicious circle.
The study, recently published in Environmental Science & Technology, compares the effects of slashing emissions from energy sources alone to a strategy that also incorporates emissions associated with land use.
The report finds that, with a growing global population, fast-developing nations, and increasing agricultural productivity and energy use, the world is on the path to seeing average temperatures rise by as much as 6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Even with an aggressive global tax on energy emissions, the planet will not be able to limit this warming to — the target world leaders have agreed is needed to avoid dangerous climate change.
- Tropical Deforestation Emissions May Be Lower Than We Think, Maybe (treehugger.com)
- Report: healthy forests are the key to a strong global economy (wired.co.uk)
- Regional workshop discusses importance of forests (fijitimes.com)
- New data and methods paint clearer picture of emissions from tropical deforestation (eurekalert.org)
- Time, place and how wood is used are factors in carbon emissions from deforestation (eurekalert.org)
- Indonesia forest moratorium won’t meet climate pledge – Norway (reuters.com)