The Deforestation-Climate Change Connection
As a result of human activity, the earth’s remaining tropical forests are disappearing at an unprecedented rate, releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year. With an acre of tropical forest lost every second of every day, deforestation accounts for roughly 17% of global climate pollution. Astonishingly, emissions from deforestation are doing more to deepen the climate crisis than all the world’s cars, trucks, planes and ships combined.
Forests sequester carbon through photosynthesis; the older a tree is, the more carbon it holds onto. In fact, recent studies credit forests with cleaning 25% of the carbon pollution in our atmosphere. So destroying these irreplaceable natural resources is doubly disastrous – we lose our forest ecosystems and we release tons of carbon into the air.
The connection between deforestation and emissions led the United Nations to coin the term “avoided deforestation”; if we stop destroying our forests, we can save the climate.
We cannot solve the climate change problem unless we address carbon emissions from deforestation. The good news is that controlling deforestation is the most cost-effective, large-scale solution to climate change.