Thursday, September 17, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters -17th September 2015

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

We are seeing an increase in tree loss around the world. This is very concerning, not least because of the coming Paris climate talks, as reducing emissions due to deforestation will play a significant role. Globally, 18 million hectares of trees were lost last year due to both natural and manmade causes.

Trees covering an area twice the size of Portugal were lost worldwide in 2014 and this was caused mostly by the demand for palm oil which is estimated to be present in half of all packaged goods, from chocolate bars to shampoo. Indonesia is the world’s biggest producer of palm oil but has introduced a moratorium on the sale of forests in recent years under pressure to reduce its carbon emissions.

We are used to hearing about tree loss in Brazil and Indonesia but researchers were surprised to learn that five African states featured in the list of ten countries where forest loss has accelerated since 2000. One of these is Madagascar, which lost 2% of its total forest area to agriculture, mining and the timber industry last year.

Developing countries, such as Liberia, realise that the ecological consequences of deforestation are worrying but feel they must consider growing palm oil because of the economic pressures to create jobs.

We must bear in mind that developing nations have to feed an ever growing population, are trying to build up a steady economy and so need encouragement to look further ahead to create sustainable development for the long term.

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