Staying within the Paris Climate Accord’s 1.5 degrees Celsius limit, at which potentially devastating climate changes will occur, requires ending deforestation before 2030. But as of 2020, the world was still losing about 38,600 square miles of forest annually. Meet Allan Traicoff, chief commercial officer at Emergent, a nonprofit that creates incentives for and connects businesses to natural climate solutions in countries that protect tropical rainforests. Emergent focuses on identifying “high-quality carbon credits,” which we discuss during this interview. Emergent launched the LEAF Coalition — a group of 20 global companies, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the United States — which has has facilitated more than $1.5 billion in emissions reduction demand funding to date. Allan explains the role of JREDD+ carbon credits, a brand new class of credits aimed at nations that have set aside forests for protection.
Preserving standing rainforest is the most efficient way to capture carbon and bring indigenous communities into the forest management process. Emergent also works with reforestation programs to restore land to its natural state. These vast but rapidly shrinking forest ecosystems are the lungs of the planet, essential to climate stability. They generate oxygen and transfer water to the atmosphere. Tropical forests are also home to 80% of the world’s known species and could be a treasure trove of biological and medical discoveries, but only if we keep them intact. Incentives for keeping forests intact and to begin the restoration of forests decimated by logging and lost to farmland are essential to changing the trajectory of climate change.