Today, NRDC joined a diverse group of environmental, conservation, and development organizations; businesses; and leading academics in a "Call for Leadership" to address deforestation (available here and a list of partners here). Frances Beinecke, our President, helped launch this "Call" with a speech to leading US policymakers from Congress and elsewhere at an event hosted by the group Avoided Deforestation Partners (that I wrote about here). She was joined by a high-level group of leading policymakers, including Senator's Kerry and Lugar and Nobel-Prize winner Wangari Maathai.
The US and the world need to simultaneously cut all sources of global warming pollution - from both the energy sector and tropical deforestation. With deforestation accounting for about 20% of the world's global warming pollution, addressing deforestation is a critical component of the world's efforts to combat global warming. So that is why we came together to launch this "Call for Leadership"...to focus US attention on helping to get a solution to this challenge.
Time is not on our side. Without a significant change, much of the world's forests will be lost in the span of decades, not centuries. And we need to mobilize resources and political will immediately to ensure that a sound strategy for deforestation's global warming pollution is integrated into the new international agreement to be reached in Copenhagen -- in just around 10 months -- and in the key tropical forest countries.
The US must take a leadership role in helping combat these emissions, just as we must take an overall leadership role in combating global warming. The good news is that the US has a long record of bi-partisan support for efforts to address the loss of the world's native forests, including the adoption of an amendment to the US law which helps developing countries address illegal logging.
Leadership needs to come both by ensuring that significant financial resources and other support is effectively integrated into the US climate legislative and that the US plays a strong role in ensuring that the new international global warming agreement also includes these tools. Continued...