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07 Dec 2010: Emissions from Deforestation
Lower than Earlier Estimates, Study Says

A study by ecologists at a U.S. consulting firm says that carbon emissions from destruction of tropical forests are likely half of previous estimates, a finding that could affect international efforts to compensate developing nations for leaving forests intact. The new analysis, presented during the international climate talks in Cancun, says deforestation accounts for about 8 percent of global carbon emissions, with a likely range of 5 to 12 percent, according to Winrock International, a nonprofit consulting firm whose research was funded by the World Bank and the government of Norway, which has played a leading role in slowing deforestation worldwide. The new estimate is “the lowest reported to date,” according to Nancy Harris of Winrock. Four years ago, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that deforestation was responsible for as much as 20 percent of worldwide carbon emissions. Some forest scientists questioned Winrock’s low estimate, saying that while the figures accurately reflected deforestation by farmers, they may underestimate the emissions from logging and conversion of tropical forests to palm oil plantations.


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