Don’t blame the trees! Saving forests is still the best way to save the planet

The smokescreen generated by recent carbon-offset setbacks should not blind us to the simple truth that we must protect our intact forests and bring back those we have lost

Some have recently questioned whether forests really are the climate solution they have long been held to be. This is because some emit great quantities of carbon, while the markets set up to finance them have stumbled. But there is no pathway to a livable climate without saving our intact forests, regrowing some, and finding a more straightforward way to pay for them than carbon offset projects.

A 2021 study led by Brazilian scientists established that the Amazon was emitting more carbon dioxide than it was absorbing. The great carbon sink had seemingly become a smokestack. The paper mirrored a 2019 analysis of Canadian forests, which showed they had been net emitters since 2001.

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