Whatever the cause of global warming, the cutting and burning of vast amounts of forest to create farmland can not be good. However, it is difficult for rich countries to tell poorer countries to change their methods of agriculture when their expanding populations are demanding more food and jobs. What is the solution?
Note the amount of carbon dioxide produced from these man-made fires (20% of all man-made carbon emissions, as much as all the worlds cars and trucks)......also consider the amount of particulate matter (soot, ash) produced. Are these numbers accurate? I wonder how the climate computer models factor this into their computations. I'll bet it is another "fudge factor", more guess work. It sure is complex.
Slashing and Warming
Published: June 16, 2007
Buried in the final communiqué issued at the recent Group of 8 summit in Germany was an important and overdue pledge to help poorer nations reduce the global warming emissions caused by the slashing and burning of their tropical forests.
One of the glaring weaknesses in the 1997 Kyoto Accord was its failure to address deforestation, which now amounts to an astonishing 50 million acres a year. Because it releases huge quantities of carbon stored in trees, deforestation contributes at least 20 percent of all carbon emissions, quite apart from the toll it takes on plant and animal life and biodiversity generally. That’s more carbon dioxide than all of the world’s cars and trucks produce.
A collective effort to bring deforestation under control, and to plant new trees in areas already laid bare by the chain saw, could substantially reduce these emissions. It would also provide developing countries with outside revenue and draw them into the broader fight against climate change.
The industrialized world now needs to follow up its pledge with hard cash. Several big environmental organizations — including Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund — have already embarked on privately funded efforts to protect forest land. But there is no substitute for collective government action, and on this score other rich nations are well ahead of the United States.
Australia recently announced a commitment of $200 million to forest preservation efforts worldwide. The Europeans have agreed to put $150 million into a World Bank facility aimed at strengthening the ability of poorer countries to manage forests and prevent illegal logging. The governments that demonstrate management strengths are likely to attract foreign investors eager to satisfy their own obligations to reduce emissions by helping others do so.
Regrettably, the United States seems headed in the opposite direction. President Bush’s foreign aid budget proposes a one-third cut in funding for the Congo Basin Forest Partnership. Comparable cuts are targeted for a program that helps Madagascar’s struggling population protect its tropical forests. This is embarrassing, to say the least. As the world’s richest nation — and also the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases — the United States should be leading this parade, not bringing up the rear.