Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Can Rainforests Be Saved With Cash Injections?

Cancun Climate Summit

An excavator clearing forest to create a palm oil plantation on the island of Borneo. In recent years vast areas of rainforest have been cut down to make way for monoculture farming, with disastrous consequences for the environment. A planned agreement to protect forests envisages paying countries not to chop down trees.

12/07/2010 - Protecting the world's rainforests is a central issue at this month's Climate Change Conference in Cancun. Huge sums are to be offered to countries that protect their forests. However, experts fear that these rewards could be misused, and that they could actually promote deforestation.

If you want to save the world, there's no point starting in Paradise. At least that's what environmental protection groups said when it was announced that the world climate summit would be held on the tropical shores of Cancun.

But looks can be deceiving. The Mexican beach resort is not really such a bad place to stage a tribunal for the world's greatest environmental sinner: Mankind. A local environmental protection group, "Cielo, Tierra y Mar," made that point at last week's opening of the mega-conference. In terms of protecting the climate, "Cancun is the best example of what not to do," a spokesman for the group said.

This becomes all too clear the moment you venture beyond the gleaming, high-rise hotels where the climate negotiators are meeting. Mangrove swamps used to stretch for many kilometers along the coast of the lagoon. Today there are just 11,392 hectares left, and some 500 hectares more disappear every year. {read rest}

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