Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Saving Tropical Forests Seen As Cost Effective Option For U.S.

How much is it going to cost to save the world's tropical rainforests -- the lungs of the planet and hot spots of the earth's breathtaking biological diversity?

According to this article in the L.A. Times:

Saving the rain forest is no longer just about helping such countries as Brazil and Indonesia preserve their exotic fauna and flora. Now it is about benefiting American corporations too.

A report released today by a blue-ribbon panel estimates that if American companies invest about $9 billion by 2020 in preserving tropical forests in developing countries, they can save about $50 billion that they would have had to spend on cleaning up their own carbon dioxide emissions.

"It is one of the few major sources of emissions that can be addressed cost-effectively now," concludes the Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests, co-chaired by former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (D-R.I.) and John Podesta, head of the Center for American Progress, an energy think tank.

Of course, some of this money has to be invested in enforcement and monitoring -- making sure that the rainforests we invest in protecting are not cut down or burned for local or large-scale agriculture, ranching and timber.

We will keep you posted on the latest as the world works to integrate preservation of forest ecosystem services into the next climate change solutions treaty.

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