Saving forests to fight climate change will cost $393 billion annually

Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C over pre-industrial levels is only possible if we make better use of the world’s forests, which collectively act as a huge carbon sink. But maximising the strength of this carbon sink won’t be cheap: it might cost in the region of $393 billion per year.

Kemen Austin at RTI International, a nonprofit research firm in the US, and her colleagues have examined the financial costs of mitigating the impacts of greenhouse gases through forests.

They estimate that as much as 6 gigatonnes of CO2 per year could be sequestered by forests by 2055, but only if forestry managers are incentivised to keep carbon in their forests. To encourage the change would require a global carbon price of $281 per tonne of CO2.

The researchers used an economic model known as the Global Timber Model, which looks at the global forestry sector and predicts how forest management practises -and greenhouse gas emissions – would be affected by carbon pricing models.

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