Statement 2009

IAP Statement on Tropical Forests and Climate Change

Environment & Climate

The InterAcademy statement recommends that the proposed UNFCCC Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism is a vital and integral part of the climate framework to be agreed in Copenhagen  this week, including transparent and robust monitoring systems to verify emissions reductions. It calls for research funding to help target political and economic interventions - for example, on the effective cultivation of valuable forest species - as well as encouraging more cooperation on earth observation to improve the accuracy of monitoring and evaluation of deforestation. Since its release, the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Spain has signed the Statement, bringing the total of signatories to 54.

Headline Messages:

  • There can be no solution to climate change without addressing deforestation;
  • Deforestation must be addressed now, not later, if we are to meet an 80% CO2 reduction target by 2050;
  • Forests play a critical role in the climate system by providing a natural carbon capture and storage function and by regulating rainfall patterns; sustainable forest management can make a major contribution to climate change mitigation;
  • Deforestation of tropical forests accounts for around 17% of global carbon dioxide emissions: a failure to address this source of emissions will significantly compromise global efforts to tackle climate change;
  • Intact and healthy forests provide food, energy, water, shelter and flood protection services, reducing the vulnerability of rural populations to climate change and enabling adaptation to climate impacts;
  • Funding developing countries to maintain their forests, using already available methodologies, capacity and funds, will offer new opportunities for generating wealth and ending poverty;
  • Any agreement reached as part of the UNFCCC negotiations must respect the rights of forest dwellers and forest dependent peoples when designing and implementing schemes, and promote sustainable development pathways that do not involve deforestation.