The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that a global effort to cap global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels will be essential in avoiding the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. This target has formed the basis for several important international agreements as well as national targets to reach net zero emissions by the middle of the century, if not sooner.
Forests play a very important role in these targets and in regulating the Earth’s climate. Forests store nearly 300 billion tonnes of carbon in their living parts – roughly 40 times the annual greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. When forests are destroyed through logging or burning, this carbon is released into the atmosphere as the climate-changing greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. The destruction of forests is responsible for up to a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – more than every plane, car, truck, ship and train on the planet combined.
Some argue that sustainable forest management can allow for logging to continue without detrimental impacts on climate and the environment. Some companies make pledges to plant millions of trees, and others look to carbon credit systems to use forests to “offset” their fossil fuel emissions. Many of these solutions are deeply flawed and disregard the rights of local communities.
At The Borneo Project, we believe that the cheapest and most effective methods of mitigating climate change are leaving forests in the ground, letting secondary forests recover, and securing land tenure for Indigenous communities.
Conserving Borneo’s forests is vital to saving our climate. This is why we work on international policy to conserve the climate, as well as on grassroots campaigns protecting forests on the ground. We believe that it is vital to save tropical forests to halt catastrophic climate change, and that policies and initiatives must benefit the communities who live in and rely on those forests in order to succeed.