In Sacramento, an opportunity is pending that could make a huge difference to achieving climate stability and sustainable development goals on a global scale.
California could take the lead in demonstrating an innovative approach to reducing tropical deforestation. And the benefits would accrue not only to the people who live in or near tropical forests, and not only to others in developing countries who will suffer the worst impacts of climate change, but also to the people of California.
It starts with standing tropical forests—the largest of which is the Amazon—which absorb carbon dioxide as they grow. They offer the world’s only safe, natural and proven technology for removing carbon from the atmosphere. When forests are destroyed, carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere, and the trees that would remove the carbon from the air are taken out. Climate change accelerates as a result.
If all emissions from tropical deforestation were assigned to one country, it would rank third after China and the United States on the list of the world’s biggest polluters. In October 2015, the forest and peat fires in Indonesia alone released more CO2 on a daily basis than the entire U.S. economy.