Report: Deforestation Jumped 10% Last Year Despite Global Pledges

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    The Facts

    • Despite pledges made at the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow in 2021 to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, the destruction of the world's rainforests continues, according to a new study by the World Resources Institute (WRI) published Tuesday, which cites University of Maryland data.

    • Last year, the world lost 4.1M hectares (around 16K square miles) of primary rainforest — about the size of Switzerland — giving rise to 2.7B tons of carbon dioxide, which corresponds roughly to the annual emissions of India. In total, the world emitted 43B tons of greenhouse gases.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    We're headed in the wrong direction. The world's tropical rainforests are in jeopardy from logging due to agricultural expansion and cattle grazing. The rainforests must be protected because they are a vast terrestrial carbon sink, and if they disappear, they will have an enormous negative impact on climate change and biodiversity. Clearly, voluntary commitments aren't sufficient to keep rainforests intact; we must take legislative action to protect them.

    Narrative B

    Although deforestation indeed contributes to climate change, some scientists have argued that there are two factors that aren't being acknowledged: the significance of location and something known as 'the albedo effect,' which is the process in which forests retain heat. Depending on the area, deforestation could either warm the planet or potentially cause a cooling effect. More research is undoubtedly required.

    Nerd narrative

    There's an 85% chance that there will be at least 2˚C of global warming by 2100, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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