I'd have to look at a world map of the Eocene before answering that one. It's very easy to fall into the 'Forest Moon of Endor' trap and assume that an entire planet only has one climatic zone - though a quick check suggests a variety of types in the Eocene which certainly had a lot of forests of different types. It's hard to be very certain as a lot of the articles I'm trying to look at are ones you have to subscribe to. There seems to be a scarcity of Eocene remains in present-day tropical Africa, so it's harder to work out what was there.
One site talks of forests north and south of latitude 15, but not of the bit inbetween (which is a pretty broad swathe of land.) they may have been forested, we simply have no way of telling.
Ocean currents were different during that period (Wikipedia) and that had an impact on the way heat was transferred around the globe. Also, ocean circulation patterns have a bit impact on rainfall distribution.
may have hit the nail on the head when he commented to me that there aren't projected to be any forests because we'll have cut them all down. At the present rate of deforestation that's pretty easy to believe.
One problem is that the situation is only comparable to a degree. Change in the Eocene was rapid in geological terms, but nothing remotely comparable to the rate of change we're getting now.
I'm trying to find more articles to compare the Eocene situation with the present, but am drawing a pretty miserable blank at the moment.
Glacial retreat is a big part of the current problem for countries like India. Once the Himalayan glaciers are gone, the meltwater that feeds rivers like the Ganges throughout the year will become a short seasonal flood. That's clearly a disaster for agriculture. (dams may help, but they in turn lose land for agriculture and can create problems of other kinds, especially in earthquake zones).
I know what you mean about friends. I'm a conservationist because I like people.