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Jonah Busch is a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development. He is an environmental economist whose research focuses on climate change and tropical deforestation.
Busch is the co-author of Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change (Frances Seymour and Jonah Busch, Center for Global Development, December 2016). He is the lead developer of the OSIRIS model for analyzing and designing policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. His research on climate and forests has been published in academic journals including Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Land Economics, and Environmental Research Letters. He has also published on the economics of penguins, pandas, and surfers. He serves on the editorial board of Conservation Letters.
Busch has advised on climate and forests for the President of Guyana, the governments of Norway, Indonesia, Bolivia, Suriname, Colombia, the United Kingdom, and California, the Global Environment Facility, and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. He is a research fellow at the Center for Effective Global Action at the University of California, Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the College of Environmental and Resource Sciences of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.
Prior to joining CGD Busch was the Climate and Forest Economist at Conservation International. Previously he served in the Peace Corps (Burkina Faso, ‘00-‘02) as a high school math teacher. He speaks French, Spanish, Indonesian, Mooré, and Chinese with varying degrees of proficiency and has traveled in more than sixty-five countries.
An area of tropical forest the size of India will be deforested in the next 35 years, burning through more than one-sixth of the remaining carbon that can be emitted if global warming is to be kept below 2 degrees Celsius (the “planetary carbon budget”), but many of these emissions could be cheaply avoided by putting a price on carbon.
Join us for a Tweet chat with @jonahbusch Thursday, August 27, at 10 a.m. EDT. #CGDchat
The story of climate change and development can be told in three simple pie charts: Developing countries are hurt most by climate change (chart #1). Historically, developed countries were most responsible for climate change (chart #2). But now, developing countries are most responsible for climate change (chart #3). That shift may be what leads to a successful climate agreement this December in Paris.
Imagine a heavy rainstorm, typical in the wet tropics, falling on an intact hillside forest. The forest’s many levels of leaves and branches act like stacked umbrellas, softening the impact of the intense rain. Trees, shrubs, vines, mosses, and litter shield the soil from the direct impact of the rainfall, while roots act like underground nets holding the soil in place. After the storm has ended, roots and animal burrows transport the fallen water into the earth. At the same time trees pump water back into the sky as clouds, cooling the air and sending moisture downwind. Water also runs off overland feeding streams and rivers.
Tropical forests help people live safer, healthier, and more productive lives in many ways, not least by reducing climate change. In fact, tropical forests contribute to achieving more than half of the 17 sustainable development goals agreed by world leaders in 2015.
On Monday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, aka the Nobel Prize for Economics, to Professor Jean Tirole of the Toulouse School of Economics.
Just over a year ago, we released our book Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics, and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change. To ensure the widest possible distribution, we are now delighted to make the full book available online for free.