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Unless the world acts to reduce deforestation, an area the size of India will be cleared by 2050. That is the stark finding of a new CGD paper by Jonah Busch and Jens Engleman. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by that level of destruction is equivalent to "running 44,000 American coal-fired power plants for a year," says Busch in this CGD Podcast.

Terrible news for the climate but also for development, as forest communities in poor countries benefit from a healthy forest ecosystem. The key is making forests worth more to them alive than dead – a win for both development and for climate.

In their paper The Future of Forests: Emissions from Tropical Deforestation with and without a Carbon Price, 2016–2050, Busch and Engleman highlight practical and affordable measures the world can take to reduce tropical deforestation, including carbon pricing. Tropical forest preservation is a bargain, says Busch, and “forests should be a much bigger part of the climate solution in 2015.”

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.