Forests


The Long-Term Goal We Need: The Science of Climate Neutrality

, sr. scientist & dir., Climate Research and Analysis

We’re halfway through the two weeks of the climate change negotiations here in Paris, and one contentious part of the draft text being negotiated is Article 3.1, entitled “Collective Long-Term Goal.” This will be a fundamental to the Paris Agreement, because it will establish what the nations of the world agree to be their ultimate objective in terms of global warming. Will it be to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average, or 2 degrees, or—God forbid—no limit at all?

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The Land Sector in INDCs: What We Have and What We Need as Paris Climate Talks Begin

, sr. scientist & dir., Climate Research and Analysis

As the world’s political leaders come to Paris for the international climate negotiations (COP21), how do things look with respect to the land sector (agriculture and forests), which is responsible for nearly ¼ of global greenhouse gas emissions? Over the past year, the Union of Concerned Scientists has been analyzing how countries included the land sector in their “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs). What are their plans and how could they be made better?

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Climate-Driven Changes on Federal Lands Could Undercut Clean Power Plan Gains

, senior climate scientist

The US Geological Survey has published the first-ever comprehensive estimate of carbon storage on federal lands under future climate scenarios. Initially, it looks like good news: federal lands are projected to store more carbon in 2050 than they did in 2005. However, a closer look reveals that a big chunk of these gains are dependent on the world staying on a relatively low-emissions pathway. The difference in net emissions from federal lands between high- and low-emissions climate scenarios has the potential to undercut the emission reductions expected under the Clean Power Plan. And going deeper, the study may not account for processes that could release much more carbon into the atmosphere.

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Forests, Agriculture, and Climate Change: Why the U.S. Needs Action, Not Just Accounting, in its INDC

, sr. scientist & dir., Climate Research and Analysis

The United States has now told the world what it intends to do about climate change in the 2020s, by submitting its INDC (“Intended Nationally Determined Contribution”) to the United Nations. As we found in our report Halfway There? in January, the U.S.’ land sector – agriculture and forests – could be a big deal for the climate negotiations in Paris next December. Of course, our actions to reduce fossil fuels will be critical, but land use is important both as a source of global warming pollution and a way to take it back out of the atmosphere. Read more >

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Not All Forests Are Created Equal: Reforesting the Tropics for People, Biodiversity, and Carbon

Sarah Jane Wilson
, , UCS

It’s after sunset and getting dark fast. The electricity is out—again—so a single candle casts a small pool of light on my survey papers. Chickens peck around my feet in the dirt-floor kitchen. Wood smoke and mouthwatering wafts of dinner fill the cool Andean air. Read more >

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