Forest and Farm Facility

The other climate change:
how forests affect climate in ways unrelated to carbon
and why it matters

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FAO Forestry Technical Network Webinar

Thursday, 20 May 2021, 14:00–15:30 CEST

Please join the webinar from this link:   
Meeting ID: 910 5757 4898 / Passcode: 67864033

Introduction by Mette Wilkie, Director, Forestry Division, FAO
Presentation by David Kaimowitz, Manager of the Forest and Farm Facility

Wikipedia says “Climate change includes both global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns.” Similarly, the official objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is “to achieve…stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere…”

But emitting greenhouse gages is not the only way people are changing the climate. When people modify forest cover and characteristics, they also modify local, regional, and global climates in other ways. They alter how much: sunlight the earth reflects (albedo); water vapor rises to the atmosphere (evapotranspiration); hot wind is forced upward (surface roughness); particles enter air and clouds (aerosols, cloud condensation nuclei); and plants emit other chemicals (BVOCs). That is a different climate change.

The other climate change influences average and extreme temperatures, rainfall patterns, cloud formation, and winds. This, in turn, impacts agriculture, human health, water resources, and wildfires. Sometimes these other climate changes amplify the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, other times they reduce them. Scientific experts are increasingly aware of how significant these processes and their effects are, but most forest policy analysts have no idea. This webinar should help to change that.