17 September, 2011

Tackle deforestation

Doug Ralph, Castlemaine
The Age (letter), 17 September 2011

THE introduction of a carbon tax may help reduce emissions in the long term but the other important cause of global warming is being ignored. Deforestation through land clearing and loss of biodiversity are a major contributor to climate change.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature states that loss of biodiversity - the variety of animals, plants, their habitats and their genes - on which so much of human life depends is one of the world's most pressing crises.

It is estimated that the extinction rate of species is between 1000 and 10,000 times higher than it would naturally be. The main drivers are caused by converting natural areas to farming and urban development, introducing invasive alien species, polluting or over-exploiting resources such as water and soils, and harvesting wild plants and animals at unsustainable levels.

Many scientists agree that restoring natural ecosystems could cool the earth and offset our present carbon emissions in the short term. Let's get our priorities right.

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