Al Gore, Wangari Maathai urge U.N. to tackle deforestation in next climate treaty
Nobel Peace Prize winners Al Gore and Wangari Maathai urged United Nations countries on Monday to pay special attention to tropical deforestation in their next international climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol. Preserving forests, they said, will help local communities, fight poverty, and may substantially slow global warming since deforestation accounts for about one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said … injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And in that same sense we live in a new reality in which increased CO2 emissions anywhere represent a threat to civilization everywhere,” Gore said. “One of the most effective things that we can do in the near term to reduce the emissions of global-warming pollution is to halt this totally unnecessary deforestation.” Gore and Maathai appealed especially to the United States for leadership on climate and deforestation issues, saying the U.S. should lead the world in international funding for helping forests and should also include forest preservation programs in any domestic climate legislation it passes.