Monday, September 21, 2009

Guyana is a model of forest protection that could solve the climate crisis

Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana, in the Guardian (UK): …This week [at the UN meeting in New York], among the talk of recession and growth, defence and terrorism, economic stimuli and trade sanctions, world leaders will discuss one of the key solutions that we need to focus on to tackle climate change — the world's forests.

…The particular solution the UN will discuss centres around a set of ideas called Redd (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) that looks set to be a key pillar of the forthcoming Copenhagen climate agreement. Redd should help to lay to rest one of the greatest mistakes of modern times — the failure to include a mechanism for protecting forests in the Kyoto protocol.

Redd should be good news for Guyana, because we have a lot of trees, and a bold plan to make these trees the economic generator of our nation by offering their services in removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it for the nations who have been generating the emissions.

In fact, more than three-quarters of our nation is covered with trees, and we have been able to keep it that way while many similar nations have suffered from rampant deforestation. But Redd will only work if the governments of the world provide the money to make conserving forests a viable alternative to cutting them down, and it is essential that the UN delegates realise this.

A recent report estimated that Guyana could generate approximately $500m a year by cutting its forests – money that is desperately needed for healthcare, education and infrastructure in a poor nation such as ours. But the world needs our forests to prevent climate change – what should we do?...

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