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The catch all

Video>>Convenient Truth by FAO 2009

 
By Apurva Khosla
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

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Forests provide sustenance to people living in the Third World. In the last 15 years, they have also become crucial to policy-makers debating climate change in plush conference rooms. Forests absorb carbon. But with forests going down in developing countries to cater to demands of agriculture and development, industrialized countries feel their escape route narrowing. This has raised the clamour on saving forests.

This 15-minute video adds to the panoply of material on the importance of forests in mitigating climate change. It makes no attempt to hide its politics. The imagery is striking and the presentation deceptively simple: Forests store more carbon than all the world's remaining oil stocks. Continuing deforestation and forest degradation account for almost one-fifth of the world's greenhouse gas emissions--more than the entire global transport sector.

To be fair, the video also explains how society can combat climate change by conserving and managing existing forests, by tackling causes of deforestation and by planting new forests. It stresses the use of wood as a renewable energy source and as a raw material, pointing out that wood products store carbon for their entire lifetime, until they decay or are burned. A section on adaptation notes how changing climate will affect the health and composition of forests and stresses the importance of adapting and planning ahead for the changes.

The video is also unlike a lot of other material on forests and climate change insofar as it does not overemphasize the responsibilities of people in the tropics. There is a section on forests in Europe and North America and the video does remind us that people draw sustenance from forests.

But the emphasis on forests obscures the fact that people living in forests did not cause climate change in the first place. So what about compensating people for preserving forests?

Apurva Khosla's upcoming film is on carbon credits

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