For Immediate Release:
June 27, 2000
Contact: Dale Curtis, 202-777-3530
Vicki Arroyo Cochran, 703-516-0601
Forests and Soils Can Play Significant Role In Mitigating Climate Change: New Report Explores the Potential and Unresolved Issues
Washington, DC — Forests and soils could play a significant role in helping to reduce the risks of global climate change, but many key issues must be resolved, according to a report being released today by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
Under the international agreement on climate change known as the Kyoto Protocol, many developed countries have set targets to reduce or restrain their emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) from the combustion of fossil fuels. The treaty also encourages countries to reduce emissions by slowing deforestation or to remove CO2 from the atmosphere by planting trees. There is also the possibility of removing CO2 from the atmosphere through improved management of agricultural soils. These measures are collectively known as LULUCF — Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry -- but the details of how they would be handled are largely unresolved.
The Pew Center report, entitled "Land Use and Global Climate Change: Forests, Land Management and the Kyoto Protocol," was written by two internationally acknowledged experts on the issue. It explores whether land use and forestry activities can provide the same long-term benefit for the global climate system as direct reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. It also reviews the international negotiations on this issue to date, and suggests questions that must be answered before land management can become an effective part of the solution to climate change.
"Storing carbon is no panacea, but it could be an important part of the menu of options aimed at slowing the build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels," said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center. "However, key rules have been left undecided, allowing countries to push for interpretations that may weaken commitments made under the Protocol."
Among the key findings of the study:
The report authors are Bernhard Schlamadinger of the Institute of Energy Research, a division of Joanneum Research, in Graz, Austria; and Gregg Marland of the Environmental Sciences Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
A complete copy of the report is available on the Pew Center's web site, www.c2es.org .
The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the nation's largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of America's environment. The Pew Center supports businesses in developing marketplace solutions to reduce greenhouse gases; produces analytical reports on the science, economics, and policies related to climate change; conducts public education efforts; and promotes better understanding of market mechanisms globally. Eileen Claussen, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, is the President of the Pew Center. The Pew Center includes the Business Environmental Leadership Council, which is composed of 21 major, largely Fortune 500 corporations all working with the Pew Center to address issues related to climate change. The companies do not contribute financially to the Pew Center — it is solely supported by contributions from charitable foundations.