Mark Tercek and Greg Fishbein from The Nature Conservancy shared their thoughts on the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum in The Huffington Post. They remind world politicians and other decision-makers of the benefits of natural systems for solving many of the problems of climate change these days.
Protecting, restoring and improving how we manage the world’s forests, grasslands and wetlands can offset at least 20% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
This message was loud and clear at the Global Landscapes Forum during the U.N. climate change convention here in Paris. At the forum, thousands of government, business and civil society leaders gathered to find land-use solutions for the climate, people and the environment.
At a GLF discussion forum on green growth compacts, The Nature Conservancy and representatives from Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico showed how they are working on a greener development approach.
For example, Rafael Muñoz, Secretary of Ecology and Environment for Mexico’s Quintana Roo State, noted that in the face of rising demand for beef, we need to become more efficient in how we use land for cattle grazing.
Daddy Ruhiyat, Chairman of the Climate Change Council in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, shared that his province plans to double its palm oil footprint from 1 million to 2 million hectares but will do so on already-degraded land.
And Justiano Netto, State Secretary of the Green Municipalities Program of Pará, Brazil, noted that his government and its citizens of course want to grow their economy – but not at the expense of the Amazon.
In the state of Pará, Brazil, The Nature Conservancy itself is helping the government meet its ambitious goal of spurring economic growth with net zero deforestation by 2020.
Through new investment models that attract private capital, Pará can likely increase its beef production by 50% without any new deforestation. The environmental upside of this shift from expansion to intensification would be huge, protecting or restoring over 3 million hectares of land and reducing carbon emissions by around 1 billion tons in a little more than a decade.
Of course this work will only succeed when coupled with strong governance and protection of remaining forests. The area in Pará where TNC has been focusing – which is the size of Portugal – has seen an incredible 85% drop in deforestation during the past six years.
Mark Tercek, President and CEO of TNC, expressed optimism that more decision-makers are beginning to see the protection and restoration of ecosystems as their priority.
The full blog can be found at The Nature Conservancy