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Bolivia: Forests as carbon offsets fail to impress in first big trial

Project in Bolivia Keeps Trees Standing But Has Little Clear Effect on Emissions

Source:  Copyright 2009, Washington Post
Date:  October 15, 2009
Byline:  Juliet Eilperin
Original URL: Status ONLINE

More than a decade ago in the northeast corner of Bolivia, a group of polluters and environmentalists joined forces in the first large-scale experiment to curb climate change with a strategy that promised to suit their competing interests: compensating for greenhouse gas emissions by preserving forests.

The coalition of U.S. utility companies, two nonprofit groups and the Bolivian government had the common goal of making a dent in the worldwide deforestation that accounts for about 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions each year. The outcome of that experiment is fueling debate over a key element in international climate strategy.

While the Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project has succeeded in keeping a biologically rich preserve of more than 6,000 square miles free from logging, it has fallen far short of its goal of reducing emissions. The mix of pragmatism and idealism -- providing powerful financial incentives to encourage influential companies ...

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