Help Developing Countries Cut Carbon, Not Trees

This post is by Sheryl Canter, and Online Writer and Editorial Manager at Environmental Defense.

In last Friday’s post on the Bali climate talks, Kyle mentioned giving countries incentives to leave their forests standing. This was also the topic of an excellent piece on NPR this morning, "Climate Experts Mull Payment to Stop Deforestation". Our own Annie Petsonk was interviewed for the story:

The U.S. government has been cool to the idea of reduced deforestation. But Indonesia, with some of the biggest tropical forests on the planet, appears to like it, said climate analyst Annie Petsonk of Environmental Defense.

"They may steal a march on the United States by taking a lead and saying, ‘We’re willing to go forward with programs to cap and cut our greenhouse emissions from deforestation if you in the industrialized world open your carbon markets,’" she said.

Cutting down trees accounts for one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and it will be next to impossible to avoid catastrophic global warming if we ignore it. Our paper on Compensated Reduction [PDF] goes into more detail about why we must include deforestation in the new carbon market. The NPR report said that it may get a boost simply because other topics of discussion in Bali are so much more controversial.

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