Tropical nations want payment for protecting carbon-sinking rainforests

“Cough up the dough, Mr. West, or the forest gets it!” OK, we’re being a little dramatic. But a group of 10 developing nations has made it clear this week at the U.N. climate summit in Montreal that it wants a little … inducement … to preserve its rainforests. The “Rainforest Coalition,” led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, argues that the world free-rides on the carbon-sink effect of its forests, while its easiest options for economic growth involve razing them for timber and cropland. The coalition proposes being included in the Kyoto-spurred global carbon-trading market so it can sell rainforest-generated carbon credits to countries that produce an abundance of greenhouse gases — with revenues providing financial incentive to save the forests instead of destroying them. “We are trying to arrange it so that the Brazilian squatter farmer gets as much out of these schemes as the fat, cigar-chomping London banker,” says carbon-trading entrepreneur Edward Seyfried.