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Greenpeace calls for deforestation fund

Source:  Copyright 2008, Agence France-Presse
Date:  May 20, 2008
Original URL: Status DEAD

Greenpeace urged industrialised nations Tuesday to set up an international fund to fight deforestation but warned it would require at least 30 billion dollars a year to work.

The plan would see rich nations give poorer ones money to preserve their natural forests instead of felling trees to create farmland, Greenpeace's Roman Czebiniac told an 11-day UN conference on biodiversity in Bonn.

He said the fund would need 20 to 27 billion euros (31 to 47 billion dollars) a year to halt the rapid destruction of forests, but billed it as the only plan on the table "to protect both biodiversity and the climate."

"At the moment, the rainforests are disappearing at a rate of the equivalent of a football field every two seconds," he warned.

Put differently, deforestation accounts for 20 per cent of the greenhouse effect blamed for global warming.

Greenpeace asked that its proposal -- dubbed the "Forest for Climate Plan" -- be made part of a blueprint for fighting deforestation in negotiations for a post-2012 climate deal.

The pact, being negotiated under UN auspices, would succeed the current provisions of the Kyoto Protocol.

Marcelo Marquesini from Greenpeace Brazil said an international fund would enable the nation to preserve its rainforests, of which 17 per cent has already disappeared to make way for agriculture.

The environmental group called on Germany as host of the biodiversity conference to set an example and put two million euros (three million dollars) into the fund this year.

But German Development Minister Sigmar Gabriel, solicited for his reaction at a press conference, dismissed the proposal as "unrealistic."

The marathon Bonn conference is aimed at ending the destruction of countless plant and animal species.

It is ninth of its kind of countries who signed up to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.

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