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Deforestation’s contribution to global CO2 emissions decreasing

Press release | 16-12-2009

The contribution of deforestation to global CO2 emissions is decreasing. Deforestation, currently, causes around 15 per cent of the total in CO2 emissions. Therefore, climate policy can only be effective if aimed at a decrease in deforestation and in CO2 emissions, through a reduced use of coal, gas and oil.

Deforestation in tropical regions

In the 18th and 19th century, Europe, Russia and the United States were responsible for large amounts of CO2 emissions, caused by the cutting down of forests. Reforestation put an end to that. Around 1950, tropical regions were not causing any of the increases in the emissions of CO2. Today, however, deforestation in countries such as Brazil and Indonesia is the main cause of global CO2 emissions.

Major increase in the use of coal, gas and oil

CO2 emissions from the use of coal, gas and oil in power generation were close to zero, at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, these emissions have increased rapidly, especially in western countries, but recently also in India, Brazil, China and the Middle East. With an increased use of mainly coal, these fuels are expected to contribute to an even further increase in total CO2 emissions, and deforestation is expected to continue to decrease.

More information

For further information, please contact the PBL Press Office (+31 70-3288688 or persvoorlichting@pbl.nl).