UN climate deal on rainforests a good thing
Finally, some good news. From Mongabay:
Friday, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Montreal, the U.N. agreed to a proposal that allows developing nations to receive financial compensation from industrialized countries for agreeing to preserve their rainforests. Environmentalists hope the deal — set forth by ten developing countries led by Papua New Guinea — will give developing nations a financial reason to get more involved in climate talks while safeguarding globally important ecosystems…
… Deforestation accounts for 20-25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, or about two billion tonnes of carbon per year, and slowing deforestation may play an important role slowing climate change. Research released last week suggests that tropical forests are more effective at fighting higher temperatures than temperature forests, which may actually have a net warming effect on climate.
This mechanism might be just what is needed to save much of the planet’s remaining biodiversity. Why would a country agree to save a forest when it would be more profitable not to do so? Human nature supplies the answer. Short term profit taking without risk or need of investment would motivate those in power at the time of the transaction. Once they lined their pockets and moved on, their successors will naturally try to squeeze a profit out of the same forests as well but will have a much tougher time doing so given that a legal and binding carbon-trade deal has been struck and compensation paid out. They will have lost not only the legal but also the moral high ground. With forest clearing no longer an option, the countries will look to better ways to improve their economies and everyone will live happily ever after.