Jul 2, 2013
My guest this week is Frances Seymour, our newest senior fellow at the Center and one of the world’s top authorities on the complex issues at the intersection of tropical forests, development and climate change. Before joining CGD, Frances was for six years director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), a nonprofit, global organization based in Indonesia that that is one of 15 research centers affiliated with the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Under her direction, CIFOR became a global leader on the forestry-development-climate nexus.
At CGD, Frances is leading a new project designed to create global consensus on the importance of forest conservation and to promote results-based financing for a program known as UN-REDD+, or “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus Preservation.” Forest loss and land conversion generates as much as a fifth of world’s emissions of heat-trapping gases, so unless we can find a way to dramatically slow deforestation, there is little chance of holding the increase in average global temperatures this century below 2 degrees Celsius—widely seen by climate scientists as the tipping point to runaway climate change (see this new World Bank infographic for a taste of what’s likely in store within your lifetime).