UNDESA Voice: Forests essential to combat climate change

Manoel Sobral-Filho UNFFS Director

Ahead of the historic moment when world leaders will sign the Paris Agreement on climate change at UN Headquarters on 22 April, Mr. Manoel Sobral Filho, Director of UN Forum on Forests Secretariat in UN DESA, explains how forests are essential to combat climate change.

Why is it not possible to combat climate change and global warming without conserving, enhancing and sustaining healthy forests?

“As the UN Secretary-General highlighted in his message on the International Day of Forests on 21 March, “forests provide one of the most cost-effective and efficient natural carbon capture and storage systems”. Reducing deforestation and forest degradation lowers greenhouse gas emissions and increases carbon sequestration. Conserving and enhancing healthy forests also helps adapt to climate change and strengthens climate resilience of communities.”

To what extent are deforestation and forest degradation linked to global warming?

“Forests play an important role in the global carbon cycle, both by absorbing carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, and storing carbon in their biomass, soils and forest products.

According to estimates by FAO, the total carbon emissions from forests decreased by more than 25 percent between 2001 and 2015, mainly due to a slowdown in global deforestation rates. Forest-based climate change mitigation actions are widely recognised as one of the most cost-effective ways of stabilizing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Read the full interview in DESA Voice.