Monday, April 15, 2024

The cost of protecting forests globally could rise

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One way of curtailing climate change involves sequestering atmospheric carbon in plants and so the more trees there are around the planet, the better our chances of keeping global temperature rises under control in coming decades.

“The global forestry sector can provide a really substantial chunk of the mitigation needed to hit global climate targets,” stresses Justin Baker, associate professor of forest resource economics at North Carolina State University.

Yet Baker and his colleagues from several leading institutions caution in a study that the costs of protecting and planting trees as carbon sinks cost us increasingly more if we are to achieve a 10% target in total emissions reductions to restrict climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In fact, it could cost as much as $393 billion a year by 2055 to pay the owners of private forests to plant and protect enough trees to soak up CO2 from the air.

“The physical potential is there, but when we look at the economic costs, they are nonlinear,” Baker says. “That means that the more we reduce emissions — the more carbon we’re sequestering — we’re paying higher and higher costs for it.”

Baker and his colleagues set out to analyze the cost of preserving forests and planting new trees by help of a price model called the Global Timber Model. Read more…

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