Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reducing deforestation is cheapest way to arrest global warming: Expert

Newstrack India, via IANS: Minimising the cutting of wood and its use as fuel can go a long way to fight global warming, and do so in an affordable way, an expert asserts. 'Forest clearance and wood burning have emerged as a major cause of global warming over the last few decades. Deforestation alone contributes over 25 percent gases responsible for global warming,' Michael Kleine of International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) told IANS.

The UN however estimates it contributes around 20 percent. Kleine added: 'Reduction in number of trees as a result of ignorant deforestation means that there would be fewer trees to absorb CO2 (carbon dioxide), the gas primarily responsible for global warming.' Kleine is coordinator of the special programme for developing countries (SPDC) that is sponsored by IUFRO.

Kleine was in Chandigarh recently to participate in an international conference on forests. He is based in Vienna, Austria, where the headquarters of IUFRO is located. 'Deforestation has virtually gone out of control and the world's policymakers have to rope in some sweeping guidelines to curtail it. When a tree grows, it takes in CO2 from the air but when wood dies it returns additional CO2 to the environment,' said Kleine.

Kleine said that a very small part of global GDP (gross domestic product), only one percent, is spent to arrest global warming. He said: 'It is a well-accepted fact that arresting deforestation and planting new trees is one of the most economical ways to cut global warming. But our governments are not paying any heed in this direction at all.'….

Jim Corbett National Park in India, shot by netlancer2006 from Bangalore, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

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