Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Pact could be near to save tropical forests

For years, policymakers and scientists alike have spoken of the need to save tropical forests as a way of curbing climate change. By week's end, U.N. negotiators may finally set the rules of the road for doing it. If all goes according to plan, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will establish a global mechanism allowing developing nations to receive financial compensation for curbing deforestation, which accounts for roughly 15 percent of the world's annual greenhouse gas emissions. Brazil, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are among the nations where forests are being cut to make way for expanded cattle grazing areas and the production of crops such as soybeans and palm oil. Now the formal text on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD+, as it is known, is almost ready. It will help define how to measure deforestation over time and what social and environmental safeguards need to be in place. Environmentalists, who have lobbied hard for the measure as a way to save some of the world's most biologically rich areas and to provide developing countries with a stake in conservation, say an agreement here will give both the public and private sectors a financial incentive to protect forests under pressure in Latin America, Asia and Africa...more

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