Originally published July 13 2008
Slowing Deforestation Rates May Net Billions
by Jo Hartley
(NaturalNews) If the deforestation process that is occurring from the Amazon to the Congo basin were to be slowed, it could generate billions of dollars each year that could then be used to aid developing nations as a part of a United Nations (UN) plan to fight climate change.
The burning of these forests by farmers who are clearing their land makes up 20 percent of our world's greenhouse gas emissions.
These reductions would represent approximately 300 million tones of unreleased carbon dioxide emissions each year. This is roughly the same amount of heat-trapping gases that are emitted by a country the size of Turkey in one year.
A UN climate conference held in December and attended by 190 nations agreed to work on ways to motivate and reward countries for decreasing deforestation. Even small improvements can generate large amounts of revenue and can also create effective emission reductions.
A ten percent reduction in the rate of tropical forest loss could create annual carbon finance for many nations at an estimated amount of between $2.4 and $14.3 billion.
The UN is pushing for reduced emissions from deforestations to be a part of a new climate treaty that is being formulated to go beyond 2012. The purpose of this treaty is to help avert and avoid more droughts, heat waves, rising oceans, and future disease outbreaks.
A part of the plan would be for credits awarded for avoiding deforestation to be matched by more difficult restrictions in other areas. Perhaps coal-fired power plants or cement factories might have to begin to pay to emit carbon dioxide.
At this point, the most attention in the UN debate has been on rewarding countries with historically high deforestation rates (such as Brazil and Ecuador) for slowing their rates of deforestation.
One of the most challenging aspects of the plan is to design a fair system. Nations like Guyana or Suriname, for example, have been quite successful in maintaining their forest cover and nations like Costa Rica and Chile, have been diligent to slow or altogether stop deforestation. Obviously nations like these would stand to gain little from this proposal.
There were other issues like how to judge the rate of deforestation or how to create controls to ensure that protecting one forest does not lead to clearing another different one. There are also some poor countries that would benefit from this proposal but that lack the necessary controls needed to regulate their land use.
Because of increased public awareness of these issues, the UN is optimistic that a system can be created that will address and improve the deforestation rates around the world.
The study has been published in the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
About the authorJo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
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