California should take action that supports other countries’ efforts to reduce deforestation. Countries around the globe are taking steps to reduce deforestation and protect the climate. Since 2006, Brazilian Amazon states have avoided 34,600 square miles of forest clearing. Following this, a group of 18 states from across the world gathered in Rio Branco, Brazil to commit to reducing deforestation 80% by 2020. And at the 2014 UN Climate Summit in New York, a coalition of businesses, NGOs , 28 countries and the State of California signed a statement supporting action to end global forest loss by 2030.
These commitments are ambitious, and they require the financial and technical support of developed countries such as the United States to achieve these goals.
California can play a part halting deforestation by furthering its support for a first-in-the-world program to allow California companies to meet a small part of their emission reduction obligations by buying carbon offsets generated through the protection of tropical forests. The climate change plan adopted by the Air Resources Board (CARB) includes provisions that allow for such a program, while not increasing the overall number of carbon offsets allowed in the Cap-and-Trade program. In addition, CARB continues to signal its interest in this process by supporting a working group to come up with recommendations on how best to set up such a carbon offset system, and by signing the New York Declaration on forests. Read more about these processes here.
By adding tropical forest conservation to its climate change regulatory program, California would send a strong signal to the world that tropical forests and sustainable land use incentives are critical to an effective climate change mitigation and adaptation framework. We simply cannot achieve our global emissions reductions goals without it.