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Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Tropical Deforestation: a Diminishing Problem?

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Tropical Deforestation: a Diminishing Problem?



Alexander Lotsch, Senior Carbon Finance Specialist, ENV Carbon Finance Unit

Nancy Harris, Senior Carbon and Land Use Specialist, Winrock International

Chair: Jon Strand, DECEE

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
 12:30-2:00 pm
Venue: MC6-100

New data and methods paint a clearer picture of emissions from tropical deforestation and the latest estimate for the early 2000s presented in this seminar is considerably lower than other recently published estimates. Based on detailed and state-of-the-art satellite observations of forest cover loss and forest carbon stocks, gross carbon emissions across tropical regions between 2000 and 2005 are about .8 billion tons of carbon per year (about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions). In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that net carbon emissions in the 1990s amounted to about 1.6 billion tons of carbon annually (equivalent to about 20% of global emissions during that decade). Most previous global or regional estimates have relied to varying degrees on country self-reported deforestation rates and are often based on broad assumptions, unreliable data, or both. Clearly derived, spatially explicit, statistically bounded estimates of carbon emission are essential for the design of effective international climate policy. The presenters will present their latest research findings, demystify tropical forest loss and emission estimates, and discuss policy implications for forest conservation and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

Bio, Alexander Lotsch
Alexander Lotsch is a Senior Carbon Finance Specialist with the Forest Carbon Forest Carbon Partnership Facility in ENVCF at the World Bank, where his work focuses on forest monitoring and forest carbon accounting. Previously he co-authored the World Development Report 2010 on Development and Climate Change, performed research on climate change adaptation in DECRG; and worked on innovative weather risk management in the Agriculture and Rural Development Department.  Prior to joining the World Bank in 2004, he worked at Boston University, NASA, and the Environmental Systems Research Institute.  He holds a PhD in Geo-Information Science from Boston University and is an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University, Virginia.

Bio, Nancy Harris
Nancy Harris is a Program Officer 2 in the Ecosystem Services unit of Winrock International. She is a carbon specialist with more than ten years of experience related to climate change and land use. She supervises Winrock’s GIS team and implements spatial modeling for various geographical regions. Her specialty is changes in carbon stocks and flows in the land use and forestry sector. She has provided technical assistance on climate mitigation activities at project, national and international scales, particularly related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Nancy Harris holds a Ph.D. in systems ecology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
For further information on the presentation, contact Jon Strand at:, 202-458-5122

The Joint Bank-Fund Brown-Bag Research Seminars on Environment and Energy is a joint initiative between the Development Research Group, Environment and Energy Team (DECEE), World Bank, and the Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF. Organizers of the series are Jon Strand (DECEE), and Ruud de Mooij and Ian Parry (FAD/IMF). The seminars are held at lunch time, normally once every two weeks, alternately in the Bank and Fund. Aims of the seminars are to raise attention to, and interest in, environment, energy and natural resources issues in both institutions; to promote the interaction between the two institutions in these fields; and to improve the institutions' common work on policy.

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