The accelerating destruction of the rainforests that form a precious cooling band around the Earth’s equator is now being recognized as one of the main causes of climate change. Carbon emissions from deforestation far outstrip damage caused by planes, automobiles and factories. The rapid slashing and burning of tropical forests is second only to the energy sector as a source of greenhouse gases, according to a report published by the Oxford-based Global Canopy Programme, an alliance of leading rainforest scientists.
“Tropical forests are the elephant in the living room of climate change,” said Andrew Mitchell of the GCP. Most people think of forests only in terms of CO2 they absorb. The rainforests of the Amazon, the Congo basin and Indonesia are the lungs of the planet. The destruction of these forests within the coming years pumps more CO2 into the atmosphere than every flight in the history of aviation to at least 2025.
According to the report by GCP, “If we lost forests, we lose the fight against climate change.” International demand has driven intensive agriculture, logging and ranching resulting in an ever increasing pressure to deforest the Earth. Most experts on rainforests urge a halt to these efforts while we can still save these vital areas of the Earth.
We are presently in a Catch-22. Emerging economies such as Brazil are using rainforests as sources of wealth to fuel their economic surge. Booming economies such as that of China are continually placing pressure to get food and woods from rainforests with literally no end in sight. The failure of leading economic societies to work with those forcing themselves into industrialization most probably means there will be no halt in this drive to enhance wealth; just another example of the Earth killing itself.
Information from The Independent