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New money is last hope in battle to save rainforests

Nick Mathiason on misplaced optimism over climate change initiatives

Source:  Copyright 2007, Guardian
Date:  October 14, 2007
Byline:  Nick Mathiason
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Industrial clearance of rainforests accounts for 20 per cent of greenhouse gases. Every second of each day a portion of jungle the size of a football pitch is destroyed. As timber is carted off for export, giant agribusinesses often move in. And so spins the nightmare cycle: a growing release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which in turn alters weather patterns and destroys delicate ecosystems.

Climate-change economists believe that slowing the speed of rainforest destruction is the most cost-effective way to fight global warming. In his Treasury report into the economics of climate change last year, Sir Nicholas Stern said $5bn a year was needed to provide rainforest nations with funds to ensure what remained was kept intact. But many people say Stern is unduly optimistic and put the real price at $15bn.

Even so, that seems a small cost for what appears to be a solid proposal to fight climate change. But the issue facing ...

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