Mexican council: Forests absorb 30 pct. of CO2 emissions from human activity

File photo taken in September 2017 showing the Mexico's Cofre de Perote forest in Veracruz state. EFE-EPA/STR

File photo taken in September 2017 showing the Mexico’s Cofre de Perote forest in Veracruz state. EFE-EPA/STR


Forests play an essential role in the fight against climate change by eliminating 30 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions produced by human activity worldwide, the Mexican Civil Council for Sustainable Silviculture (CCMSS) reported on Monday.

In a communique, the organization said that, if efforts are made to push their role as carbon absorbers, these ecosystems could even eliminate greater amounts of CO2, a task that Mexico committed itself to during the past presidential cycle.

These efforts include improving agricultural practices, transiting to agro-ecological production schemes, reducing deforestation and restoring degraded zones, the CCMSS said as part of its activities for the World Day for Reducing CO2 Emissions.

However, CCMSS director Sergio Madrid said that “This represents a big challenge because of the budget cuts that have been made in the sector” since Mexico’s new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, took office on Dec. 1, 2018.

He added that “While Mexico continues to push forward with the agricultural production model using modified seeds, large quantities of chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides to the detriment of agro-ecological production, the efforts to mitigate the emission of polluting gases will not bear fruit.”

According to Madrid, this model, in addition, “has fostered in an endless series of violations of the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples.”

As an example, he cited the deforestation that has occurred in the southern states of Campeche and Chiapas to establish gigantic transgenic soybean and African palm plantations.

During the 2012-2018 administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico made the commitment to reduce greenhouse gases to about 210 megatons of CO2 equivalent by 2030.

To achieve that goal, deforestation must essentially be cut to zero, a commitment that - Madrid says - “is far from being fulfilled.”

On the global level, something similar is happening, given that reducing CO2 emissions is not proceeding smoothly.

As United Nations regional director for the environment in Latin America and the Caribbean, Leo Heileman, told EFE recently, the institution’s latest report in 2017 says that emissions reached their highest level ever: 53.5 gigatons.

This figure, he said, means that the relatively recent Paris Accord, concluded in 2016 to reduce emissions and halt global warming, has failed.