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Research: Oxygen Tax


One of the greatest threats of climate change today is deforestation. Previous generations have thought nothing about clearing areas of forest in order to plant crops or graze cattle. Even today when we understand a lot more about the role that forests play, they are still being cleared at an alarming rate. Forests have been called the lungs of the Earth, but we cannot blame local people for trying to make a living. In some places it’s being done by corporations operating on a much larger scale, but still in the pursuit of profit. The main cash crops areĀ  beef, soy, palm oil and wood products.

Wikipedia says:

Between 2000 and 2012, 2.3 million square kilometres (890,000 sq mi) of forests around the world were cut down. As a result of deforestation, only 6.2 million square kilometres (2.4 million square miles) remain of the original 16 million square kilometres (6 million square miles) of tropical rainforest that formerly covered the Earth. An area the size of a football pitch is cleared from the Amazon rainforest every minute…

…According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, the overwhelming direct cause of deforestation is agriculture. Subsistence farming is responsible for 48% of deforestation; commercial agriculture is responsible for 32%; logging is responsible for 14%, and fuel wood removals make up 5%.

So what is the solution to this urgent problem? A Brief History of the Future suggests that in 2149 developed countries agree to pay developing countries an Oxygen tax not to cut down forests. It is not such a strange idea, as this article on the HuffPost website in October 2016 suggested the same thing, only much sooner than science fiction suggested. How sad.

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at