Let's Pay People Not to Cut Down Trees

A deal could curb greenhouse gas emissions by 18%
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2009 2:42 PM CDT
Let's Pay People Not to Cut Down Trees
Newly-planted palm oil trees are seen growing on the site of destroyed tropical rainforest in Kuala Cenaku, Riau Province November 21, 2007 in Sumatra Island, Indonesia.   (Getty Images)

Deforestation releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, so how about paying people to keep trees standing? A pilot project in Brazil has paid families to do just that, and aroused the interest of world leaders who plan to negotiate a climate deal in Copenhagen in December, the Economist reports. But analysts fear that wealthy countries, who would foot the bill, may use the plan to pass off climate-saving concerns to the developing world.

There are other problems. Nations that have already curbed deforestation, like Costa Rica, would not benefit from such a scheme. Certain investors and companies would, however, which rankles some critics. But the plan has already attracted about $800 million from countries around the world, and could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 18%—more than eliminating all the world's vehicles in one fell swoop.
(More forests stories.)

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