How forests can help cut carbon emissions

29 November 2010


James Martin Senior Visiting Fellow Dr Kenneth Richards will shortly be flying to Cancun to deliver a talk on international forest carbon sequestration at the UN Climate Forum. The conference is the 16th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and is an opportunity for environment officials and ministers to continue their efforts towards an international deal on cutting carbon emissions. They will work on a global agreement to succeed the Kyoto protocol after the talks at Copenhagen last year failed to replace it.

Dr Richards stressed the need for policymakers to understand the potential of forest sequestration:

“Forests really do play a critical role in the global carbon cycle and it’s vital that the international community continue to pursue policies and programs to increase the amount of carbon stored in forests. Recent estimates suggest that forestry could contribute an average 6.7 billion tons of emissions reductions annually, with over two-thirds of this potential coming from tropical nations. So making full use of the forest carbon sink is appealing to both the developed and the developing world.”

Dr Richards is visiting Oxford from Indiana University, Bloomington. He teaches courses on public law and administration, environmental and cost-benefit economics and energy and climate change law. His research focuses on environmental policy implementation and climate change policy and he is one of the world’s leading authorities on forest carbon sequestration.

Earlier this month Dr Richards delivered talks at an international workshop on the “Economics of Ocean Acidification” in Monaco. The event provided recommendations designed to help effective international policy development on climate change and ocean protection issues. The workshop was an initiative of the newly established Monaco Environment and Economics Group to strengthen linkages between environmental science and economics.