Thursday, September 20, 2007

Activist says 'Incentives offered to destroy rainforests'

IPS: Instead of providing positive incentives to tropical nations to conserve their rainforests and so reduce greenhouse gases emissions, the world indirectly gives "perverse incentives" to destroy them by demanding goods produced by intensive logging, a leading environmental activist says.

"The Kyoto protocol does not give incentives to rainforest nations to protect their forests," Kevin Conrad, special envoy of the environment and climate change permanent mission of Papua New Guinea to the United Nations told IPS.

… Between 1989 and 1995, global emissions as a result of deforestation amounted to 5,000 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, studies show. "Instead of giving us incentives to protect our forests, the world gives countries like mine incentives to destroy them," Conrad said. Coffee, soy beans, sugar, flowers and wood furniture, he said, can only be produced in developing countries through systematic deforestation.

"Tropical rainforest nations deserve to be treated equally," Conrad said. "If we reduce deforestation, we must receive fair compensation for reductions. A tonne (of carbon dioxide) is a tonne is a tonne."

….Deforestation is particularly dramatic in Brazil and Indonesia, where some five million hectares of forest are lost every year due to such causes, and more recently, the plantation of palm trees to produce bio-fuels.

…Conrad told IPS that loss of rainforest has a large environmental impact, from degradation of the quality of water in lakes and rivers to decimation of biological diversity, damage to ecosystems, and prevention of natural processes such as pollination. According to CRN, deforestation threatens to annihilate some 60 percent of all species.

Conversely, protecting rainforests represents major benefits for the environment, since it is a significant source of carbon emission reductions outside the framework of the Kyoto protocol. In addition, it can create substantial new revenue streams to addresses poverty in rural areas….

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