Leaders in business, government, advocacy, conservation, global development, science and national security have formed a commission to “provide bipartisan recommendations to Congress and the President about how to reduce tropical deforestation through U.S. climate change policies,” according to a statement released by the newly established group, named the Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests.
Deforestation and degradation of tropical forests accounts for roughly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions form human activities, a larger source than all the world’s cars, trucks, planes, and ships combined. Reducing these emissions could help address climate change while simultaneously conserving biodiversity, improving rural livelihoods, and safeguarding other important environmental services. Incorporating forest conservation in future climate policies will also help reduce the cost of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Plantation forestry in Sumatra
The Commission is led by John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and Lincoln Chafee, former Republican Senator from Rhode Island. It includes a wide range of executives, scientists, and former elected officials and plans to issue its recommendations in the early fall, when climate legislation is expected to be considered by the Senate and U.S. negotiators will be preparing for climate treaty talks in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“The outstanding, bipartisan leaders that have joined the Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests will examine the threats posed by continued deforestation to our national security, economic stability and the viability of climate solutions now under discussion,” said Commission Co-Chair Lincoln Chafee. “The group’s diverse perspectives will inform what we hope will be clear, reasonable recommendations to Congress and the President.”
“There has never been a more important moment or a greater opportunity for U.S. policy makers to confront the threat of tropical deforestation,” added Commission Co-Chair John Podesta. “The Commission’s purpose is to help ensure that U.S. policy embraces this moment and creates strong, smart and effective tropical forest protections.”
Rainforest in Sumatra
“As a complement to domestic climate action, tropical forest conservation can reduce costs for U.S. companies, accelerate global climate solutions, help alleviate global poverty and protect some of the world’s most treasured natural places,” said Commission Executive Director Nigel Purvis, who is founder and president of the environmental consulting firm Climate Advisers. “This distinguished group of leaders will develop recommendations that will improve U.S. policy and help marshal an effective global response.”
Members of the commission include D. James Baker, Director, Global Carbon Measurement Program, The William J. Clinton Foundation; Nancy Birdsall, President, Center for Global Development; Sherri Goodman, Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security; Chuck Hagel, Former United States Senator, Nebraska; Alexis Herman, Former Secretary of Labor; Robert W. Lane, Chairman and CEO, Deere & Co.; Frank Loy, Former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs; Michael G. Morris, Chairman, President and CEO, American Electric Power; Thomas Pickering, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Cristián Samper, Director, Smithsonian Institute/National Museum of Natural History; Lynn Scarlett, Former Deputy Secretary of the Interior; General Gordon Sullivan, Former Chief of Staff, United States Army; and Mark Tercek, CEO, The Nature Conservancy.
This post is based on a news release from the Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests.