FORESTS & CLIMATE CHANGE
Why our work matters:
In 2015, world leaders agreed to tackle climate change and limit global warming to below the critical threshold of 2°C by 2050, the target required to limit the worst effects of climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world has until 2030 to cut human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in half (and cut other greenhouse gas emissions considerably) to maintain a 50% chance of avoiding the worst effects of climate change. By 2050, CO2 emissions will need to reach “net zero” – where emissions are in balance with removals – to sustain this chance. One important action step toward this goal involves protecting our forests.
Forests are the lungs of our planet, and their health is essential for addressing climate change.
The world’s forests are responsible for approximately one quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. However, if better managed, forests can provide more than a third of the carbon reductions needed to keep warming well below 2°C.
Why Forests Matter:
Forests are essential to life on Earth. Home to multitudes of animals and plants, more than nine out of ten species found on land live in forests.
Some of the various functions of forests include:
Make rainfall and filter freshwater
Provides subsidence, fuelwood and medicines
Protect biodiversity and supports livelihoods
Regulate water flows
Protects coastal communities from extreme events and sea level rise
Most importantly, forests purify the air we breathe by storing vast amounts of carbon and releasing oxygen
Forests play a key role in the global carbon cycle by serving as both a cause and a solution for greenhouse gas emissions. The trees within forests absorb carbon as they grow, and they emit carbon as they age or are cut down. Forests are also one of the most important solutions to addressing the effects of climate change. Every year, forests absorb approximately 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide, one-third of the CO2 released from burning fossil fuels.