Scientists and non-governmental organizations at the United Nations climate negotiations in 2009 commented on the percentage of global warming emissions that is due to tropical deforestation. The group, which included most of the leading experts on deforestation emissions, released the following statement, ‘the new paper, other papers and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports published in the last few years lead us to conclude that the percentage of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is less than the commonly used figure of ‘about 20%.’
The change is not due to a decrease in deforestation since the 1990s. In fact, the analyses agree that global deforestation in the early 2000s has been similar to that in the 1990s.
These changes exemplify how science advances, and reflect our improved ability to measure the emissions due to deforestation. They reinforce the point that reducing emissions from tropical deforestation is critical to slowing global warming. These emissions are comparable to the emissions of all of the European Union, and are greater than those of all cars, trucks, planes, ships and trains worldwide. Reducing tropical forest emissions remains a relatively cost-effective option to reduce emissions.