IfW in the News

Mass deforestation: How trade fells trees in Brazil and Indonesia


Ruth Delzeit comments on the results of a study according to which almost 30-40% of the carbon dioxide released by forest destruction comes from international trade.

Excerpt from the Article

(...) In many rich countries, the authors wrote, the deforestation-related emissions "embodied" in imports are greater even than those generated by domestic agriculture.

"It's not [just] the consumers in the countries where deforestation takes place who cause it — it's driven by consumers elsewhere," said Ruth Delzeit, head of environment and natural resources at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IWF).

(…) India is already the biggest importer of Indonesian oilseed products. Last year's rise in Brazilian beef exports, meanwhile, was driven by a 53 per cent increase in Chinese demand from 2017 to 2018, data from the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association show.

"We can see that exports to India and China will increase massively in the future [as they become] richer per capita," said Delzeit, of the IFW. "They will move towards western diets — which includes increasing the consumption of meat."

That has consequences for richer nations who might argue their contribution to deforestation is proportionally small.

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