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Nature knows how to capture and store carbon and has been doing so effectively for mellenia. We need this capacity in order to help us resolve the climate crisis we have created.

But a recent UNEP report ( Download, 8 MB) asserts that "Currently the world’s ecosystems, instead of maintaining and enhancing nature’s carbon capture and storage capacity, are being depleted at an alarming rate.”
The report is a handy resource that summarizes the carbon capture and storage capacity of various natural and human-dominated ecosystems. The report is the latest publication to support and call for protection of carbon stores in natural ecosystems as a key climate change strategy.

It also contains a good summary of the current treatment of terrestrial carbon within the Kyoto Protocol and of the trajectory of the current climate negotiations. Quite rightly, the report concludes that it is not yet at all certain that negotiations will lead to the comprehensive treatment that is required to seize the climate change mitigation opportunities presented by ecosystems.

The necessary elements of a solution are becoming increasingly clear to me:

  • An effective REDD mechanism must be put in place;
  • Countries need to affirm their commitment to protect reservoirs of greenhouse gases by agreeing to report their goals and progress to protect natural forests, wetlands and grasslands;

  • Developed countries need to accept accountability for greenhouse gas emissions from forest management and wetland management;

  • Changes in greenhouse gas emissions from forest management and wetland management must be measured against historic levels;


Issued by:  Forests and Climate Change Blog

Author: Chris Henschel


Issue date: September 10, 2009

Link to Article: Origin of text


Extpub | by Dr. Radut