20 Nov 2009:
Emergency Rainforest Fund
Created by Prince Charles and 35 Nations
Britain’s Prince Charles has struck an agreement with 35 nations to contribute $22 billion to $36 billion to reduce the destruction of tropical forests by 25 percent by 2015
. The Prince of Wales said the U.S. has agreed to contribute $275 million to the rainforest protection fund, which will pay countries such as Indonesia and Brazil to preserve forests rather than felling them for timber or agricultural use. Ed Miliband, the U.K.’s energy and climate change secretary, said a global mechanism for paying countries to protect tropical forests is on the agenda at next month’s Copenhagen climate summit and is “closer
than it’s ever been” to being codified in an international treaty. Deforestation is responsible for nearly 20 percent of global carbon emissions, and various
nations and conservation groups are working to develop programs known as REDD
— Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation. Conservationists said the Prince of Wales’ effort must ensure that the funds are not squandered through local corruption or questionable forest protection schemes. The conservationists cited the example of Norway’s pledging $250 million to slow deforestation in Guyana. Since the Guyanese government claimed an artificially high rate of previous deforestation, it can receive payments while actually doing little or nothing to slow current forest loss.
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Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s unspoiled coral reefs. View the gallery.
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The Warriors of Qiugang
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A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.