Some forests are now emitting more carbon dioxide than Oxygen. Here is why

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Oct 28, 2021, 02:12 PM(IST)

Forest Photograph:( Others )

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The carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, diesel, gasoline or petrol, kerosene, and natural gas is the main 'greenhouse gas' responsible for warming the Earth's atmosphere

A new study has revealed that forests in 10 World Heritage sites emitted more carbon than they absorbed.

The report released by UNESCO, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has made some shocking revelation about greenhouse gas emissions.

The carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, diesel, gasoline or petrol, kerosene, and natural gas is the main "greenhouse gas" responsible for warming the Earth's atmosphere.

But there are others such as methane, which is produced by cows and waste dumps, that are much more potent than CO2 but much shorter-lived in the atmosphere.

Also see | Which countries and blocs are major players at the Glasgow climate summit?

Forests in the UNESCO World Heritage covers approximately 69 million hectares, that is, twice the size of Germany.

They play a crucial role in regulating the climate by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Between 2001 and 2020, they absorbed almost 190 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. This is equivalent to half the UK's annual emissions from fossil fuels.

However, World Heritage sites lost 3.5 million hectares of forest over the past 20 years This area is larger than Belgium.

Also read | Poor nations to spend five times as much on debt as they do against climate change: Report

''We now have the most detailed picture to date of the vital role that [these] forests play in mitigating climate change,'' said co-author of the report Tales Carvalho Resende.

The two most widespread threats to UNESCO World Heritage forests are climate change with associated severe weather and land-use pressures associated with various human activities.

With just over one degree Celsius warming so far after 150 years of burning fossil fuels, the world is experiencing a rapid-fire onslaught of weather disasters supercharged by climate change.  

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