A combination of dramatic technological advances, experience, and application of a little common sense has markedly increased scientists’ confidence in their ability to monitor forest conservation projects for their climate impact.
As The Eliasch Review [PDF], the U.K. Government’s authoritative recent report on forest-climate science and policy, put it, “Using appropriate techniques, forest emissions can be estimated with similar confidence to emissions estimates in other sectors.”
That’s very good news, as approximately 20 percent of total global warming pollution comes from deforestation, more than all the world’s cars, trucks, planes, and ships combined. As the United States and the world move towards a system in which these forests are valued for their immense carbon storage, it’s critical that we make those valuations as accurate as possible—so we can know exactly how much a particular forest conservation project (and ultimately a particular country) is actually reducing emissions.
We certainly have a lot to learn as we develop the emerging field of climate and land use solutions rooted in payments for ecosystem services. But with climate change accelerating, we need to get a move on ramping up every solution in our arsenal in a big big way.
I'm glad that we seem to be headed in the right direction here -- as we've noted time and again, compliance monitoring is key for making these types of solutions work.