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New report shows importance of Canada’s Boreal forest in climate change talks

  • Published on Nov 12 2009 |
  • This article is tagged as: boreal-forest

A science report released today by the Canadian Boreal Initiative provides more support for CPAWS’ work to convince Canada and other developed countries to make forests count in the next international climate change agreement. Today’s report finds that the Boreal forest stores nearly twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical forests.

"The Carbon the World Forgot" identifies the boreal forests of North America as not only the cornerstone habitat for key mammal species, but one of the most significant carbon stores in the world, the equivalent of 26 years of global emissions from burning fossil fuels, based on 2006 emissions levels. Globally, these forests store 22 percent of all carbon on the earth\'s land surface.

"Past accounting greatly underestimated the amount and depth of carbon stored in and under the boreal forest," said Jeff Wells, an author of the report.

CPAWS’ forests and climate change specialist Chris Henschel says “ We hope that this new evidence will convince Canada to take a stronger leadership role in the upcoming climate change talks in Copenhagen in December. So far,  Canada has not stepped up, and all of the developed countries are balking at the idea that they should set in place new rules for accounting for emissions from cutting down forests.”

Henschel has been attending the international climate change negotiations for the past two years and is leading Canadian and international  environmental groups in developing policy recommendations to make forests count in the next climate change agreement.  

“The preference of the Canadian government has been to measure its performance against a projection of future business-as-usual practices, but it will be difficult to demonstrate that this approach has environmental integrity.  We’re still hoping that Canada will agree to measures that track real changes in emissions.  Otherwise it will be hard to find either ambition or transparency in the numbers,” says Henschel.

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