Monday, August 24, 2009

Brazilian researcher calls global deforestation "grossly overestimated"

Solid numbers for tropical deforestation are notoriously hard to come by. The director of Brazil's National Institute for Space Research in the article (hyperlinked in title) speaks of deforestation rates (and thus carbon emissions) much lower than prevailing estimates. While he may be right, deforestation numbers may be lower, there is usually more to statements from Brazil on deforestation than meet they eye. This could be part of a strategy by Brazil to frame the debate on REDD in Copenhagen. One should also remember that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the authoritative international body on climate change science, believes that approximately 17.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from land use change in the tropics. So for a leading Brazilian researcher to be quoted as saying,

"I'm not in favor of conspiracy theories," Camara (the Director of the Institute) told Reuters in a telephone interview on Friday. "But I should only state that the two people who like these figures are developed nations, who would like to overstress the contribution of developing nations to global carbon, and of course environmentalists." probably a good reason to be skeptical.

1 comment:

Graham Isaac Shannon said...

The title would seem to be sensationalist in my understanding of the discussion. The issue at hand is the estimate of C02 gas emissions resulting from desforestation, wheras this title seems to suggest that our Brazilian researcher denies the extent of desforestation. If you were to read his artcle this is certainly not his point.