McKinsey offer three scenarios to reaching our climate goals – and all require the curbing of global deforestation immediately.
“Deforestation—quite often linked to agricultural practices, but not exclusively so—is one of the largest carbon-dioxide emitters, accounting for nearly 15 percent of global CO2 emissions. Deforestation’s outsize impact stems from the fact that removing a tree both adds emissions to the atmosphere (most deforestation today involves clearing and burning) and removes that tree’s potential as a carbon sink. Even after accounting for ongoing reforestation efforts, deforestation today claims an area close to the size of Greece every year. Achieving a 1.5-degree pathway would mean dramatically slowing this. By 2030, if all fossil-fuel emissions were rapidly reduced (as in our first scenario), and all sectors of the economy pursued rapid decarbonization, deforestation would still need to fall about 75 percent. In the other two scenarios, where reduced deforestation serves to help counteract slower decarbonization elsewhere, deforestation would need to be nearly halted as early as 2030. Either outcome would require a combination of actions (including regulation, enforcement, and incentives such as opportunity-cost payments to farmers),” McKinsey, 2020