Affordable Climate Protection: Saving the Amazon Forest Cost Brazil Far Less than the Rio Olympics

Jonah Busch – Center for Global Development, 08/18/2016

From 2004-2013, Brazil reduced climate emissions by more than any other country on earth, thanks to its success cutting Amazon deforestation by 80 percent. Now, a new study in Ecological Economicsfinds that actions to protect the Amazon were affordable too, costing Brazilian governments at the federal, state, and local levels just $2.1 billion over nine years—one-third the estimated $6.2 billion price tag of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Felipe Arias Fogliano and the paper’s other authors arrived at this finding by estimating the incremental budget increase in dozens of government programs once forest conservation efforts began in earnest after 2004. Their analysis of actual government expenditures adds an important new strand of evidence to a large body of published research suggesting that conserving forests is one of the lowest-cost ways to reduce climate emissions. (Previous evidence has come from opportunity cost-based models, integrated assessment models, and site-specific case studies.)

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