Most scientists are in unanimous agreement that emissions from vehicles and factories contribute to carbon emission buildup. However, this is only one side of the equation; there are other attributing causes that hasten the effects of global warming that are often not discussed.
Most experts agree that deforestation actually has a more adverse impact than all the emissions from cars and factories combined. According to a study released by the World Carfree Network, smog emitted from vehicles around the world causes about 14 percent of carbon emissions, while deforestation accounts for over 15 percent.
When a tree is cut down, it releases carbon into the air where it combines with greenhouse gases, which is a prime factor in global warming. The problem is that deforestation is often overlooked with much of the resources being devoted instead to creating fuel efficient vehicles and cutting down on overall automobile usage.
An estimate by the Environmental Defense Fund reveals that over 32 million acres of tropical and forested areas were cut down for industrial use between 2000 and 2009.
Of course, preserving tropical areas is much easier said than done. Most of the locals who live near the tropics and Amazon region rely on cutting down trees for their livelihood. Deforestation allows people to make a living by producing charcoal, pastures and timber. In addition to climate change, deforestation is also detrimental to biodiversity as about half of all wildlife species and plants – most of which are not found anywhere else in the world – thrive in these regions.
The United Nations have addressed the issue by developing the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation service. This program provides incentives for those who take measures to adopt more sustainable lifestyles that doesn’t involve cutting down another tree. The aim of the program is to outreach to developing nations that rely heavily on deforestation and provide them with alternatives.