LATimes: Saving Amazon is most cost-effective way to cut global warming pollution

The L.A. Times produced a beautiful series on Brazil’s Amazon this week, saying what EDF has said all along: Protecting the Amazon not only preserves biodiversity — it also cuts global warming pollution faster and at lower cost than almost any other approach.

The destruction of tropical forests causes nearly a fifth of all global warming pollution, and as reporter Margot Roosevelt discovered, too often these forests are destroyed to make low-value products like charcoal.

It’s exactly what EDF has been saying – we can’t stop global warming without protecting tropical forests – and protecting forests is the fastest and lowest-cost way to curb warming. So, logically, it’s the first thing we should do.

It’s no surprise the L.A. Times would zoom in on this story. California businesses and citizens, like the people who live in the Amazon, stand to reap both health and economic benefits by preserving the forest.

That’s because California’s cap-and-trade market, set to begin in 2012, would let businesses buy tropical forest offsets to help meet their emission caps, using a policy approach called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation) pioneered in part by EDF.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger already signed agreements with several Amazon state governors to measure the carbon stored in their forests. (He hosted two Governors’ Global Climate Summit’s in Los Angeles.)

Amazon deforestation fell to the lowest rate in more than a decade last year. By letting big polluters pay to keep deforestation down, we help protect this resource and curb global warming in the fastest, most cost-efficient way.

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