• Paying to avoid deforestation emerging as offsetting option

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels

A Financial Times article has highlighted what looks likely to become another forestry-related means for companies to offset their carbon emissions. While companies such as Eni have plans to plant forests as a means of sucking carbon out of the atmosphere, an alternative will be to prevent deforestation, particularly of mature trees in established, diverse ecosystems. Countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil and Democratic Republic of Congo have all experienced loss of primary forests over the last 15 years, leading to annual greenhouse gas emissions through land-use change greater than total emissions from the UK, Spain, Germany, France and Italy combined, at around 2.5 gigatonnes per year of carbon-equivalent emissions. Averting these emissions through paying countries/jurisdictions for keeping the forests intact is something already being explored by companies such as Amazon, Boston Consulting, McKinsey, Unilever, Salesforce, Airbnb, GSK and Nestlé, through the US$1 billion Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (Leaf) initiative, and it may be that such schemes expand significantly in coming years. Concerns that such finance would simply shift deforestation to other areas within the same country are to be addressed in the Leaf initiative by looking at forest cover over the entire country; one might suspect that this might mean a shift of deforestation to other countries, though hopefully enough will be under such schemes to make alternatives limited.

Note from IFRF Director: To read an excellent guide on deforestation by Rachel Brown, writing in DIYGarden, click here. This ‘ultimate guide to help prevent deforestation’ addresses what it is, why it is a problem and how to prevent or reverse it (including payment to converse forests).