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Green Activists’ Claims About Deforestation Wrong, New Report Finds

Green Activists’ Claims About Deforestation Wrong, New Report Finds NGO argues “no conversion” policy endangers anti-poverty strategies

COPENHAGEN Today, the pro-development NGO, World Growth, released a report at a UNFCCC Copenhagen press conference that shows drastically overstated deforestation rates are being used to justify climate policies that will harm economic growth in developing countries.

It is standard for groups like World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to say that deforestation contributes to 20 per cent of global emissions, but its closer to 5 percent as shown in our research report, Conversion The Immutable Link between Forestry and Development, said Alan Oxley, Chairman of World Growth.

World Growths critique of the oft-cited figure comes after researchers at Brazils space agency and the University of Amsterdam have called for deforestation estimates to be revised downwards.

These erroneous claims are cited to justify inclusion in a climate change treaty of a ban on any further conversion of forest land, continued Mr. Oxley. A ban would undermine strategies to use forest land for highly productive purposes, including production of food and plantation stocks to reduce poverty and hunger, particularly among developing regions where around 1.4 billion people live on less than US$1 per day. Two months ago G8 leaders called for programs to increase food production, however some of those same individuals want to halt expansion of land for agricultural production in the name of climate change.

Our report shows how rich countries -- particularly the EU -- are denying developing countries opportunities for economic growth through use of forests and forested land, which is historically linked to stages of economic development, said Mr. Oxley.

People dont understand that no forest conversion means no additional food production. To protect their national interests, forestry developing countries should resolutely say 'no' to no conversion in the Copenhagen negotiations.

The report also demonstrates that the EUs double standards on the environment are exacerbating the situation for the worlds poor.

Not content with locking developing world farmers out of EU markets, the EU now wants these same farmers to stop farming for the sake of the environment. Yet 20 percent of forests in South East Asia are designated for conservation compared to less than 4 percent in Europe.

Developed world leaders need to stop using the worlds poor as climate pawns in order to score political points at home.

Click here to read the entire World Growth Report

Click here to read the Executive Summary

To speak with World Growths experts or find out more about the report, please contact media@WorldGrowth.org or +1-202-320-3965.

World Growth is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established with an educational and charitable mission to expand the education, information and other resources available to disadvantaged populations to improve their health and economic welfare. At World Growth, we embrace and celebrate the new age of globalization and the power of free trade to eradicate poverty and improve living conditions for people in the developing world. For more information on World Growth, visit www.worldgrowth.org.

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