Carving Up The Congo – Part 1

April 11, 2007

Climate change caused by atmospheric buildup of greenhouse gases is the greatest threat the world faces today. Global emissions from tropical deforestation alone contribute up to 25 percent of total annual human-induced CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.

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Executive summary: Predictions for future deforestation in Central Africa estimate that by 2050 forest clearance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will release a total of up to 34.4 billion tons of CO2, roughly equivalent to the UK’s CO2 emissions over the last sixty years or the US’s over the last six years. The DRC risks losing more than 40 percent of its forests, with transport infrastructure such as logging roads being one of the major drivers. Logging roads open up the rainforest allowing access.

With access comes commercial poaching: the rainforests are being emptied of large mammals to feed the trade in commercial bushmeat and ivory. And once the rainforest is opened up by logging roads, the area becomes vulnerable to clearance for agriculture. With road clearance come CO2 emissions from rainforest destruction. With CO2 emissions comes further climate instability.

Logging titles across Central Africa already cover some 123 million acres of rainforest, an area the size of Spain.

Num. pages: 15

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