Could “Developing” Countries Be Paid To Not Cut Their Trees Down?

by William Teach | December 8, 2010 9:04 am

Remember when developing countries were referred to as third world rat holes, er, countries? And how they have been “developing” for going on 20-30 years? Countries where many of the peasants need to cut down trees in order to survive? And the countries use the trees to continue “developing”? Well, now[1]

For years, policymakers and scientists alike have spoken of the need to save tropical forests as a way of curbing climate change. By week’s end, U.N. negotiators may finally set the rules of the road for doing it.

Well, really, they talk about curbing almost everything but their own lifestyles.

If all goes according to plan, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will establish a global mechanism allowing developing nations to receive financial compensation for curbing deforestation[2], which accounts for roughly 15 percent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Hmm, if I didn’t know better, this would make me think this is some redistribution of wealth scheme, with some portion of the money going into the UN’s pockets.

Brazil, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are among the nations where forests are being cut to make way for expanded cattle grazing areas and the production of crops such as soybeans and palm oil.

Palm oil is a favorite among the climate alarmists, for producing low carbon fuels. And, it needs lots of land, leading to a loss of biodiversity.

Now the formal text on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD+, as it is known, is almost ready. It will help define how to measure deforestation over time and what social and environmental safeguards need to be in place.

Wait, “social”? I’m starting to get the feeling that this isn’t really about forests.

Environmentalists, who have lobbied hard for the measure as a way to save some of the world’s most biologically rich areas and to provide developing countries with a stake in conservation, say an agreement here will give both the public and private sectors a financial incentive to protect forests under pressure in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Now, I won’t argue that saving forests is a bad thing. It’s not. Nor that it cannot affect the climate, particularly micro-climates. Consider that the loss of the forests around My. Kilimanjaro is responsible for the glacier melt on the mountain, not man caused global warming. And, you can lose quite a bit of biodiversity. Unfortunately, I do have to question the motives of the UN and the climate talks in exotic Cancun. Their motives are certainly not about environmentalism and saving forests.

And by the end of this month, a Hong Kong-based company may become the first to preserve a stretch of tropical forest by selling credits to major corporations, who could use them to compensate for their own greenhouse gas emissions if they face government regulation in the future.

Hmm, some sort of carbon credits scheme, whereby, instead of trees being planted, they are being saved. Were I a climate alarmist, this would seem like a negative sum game to me, and I’d think that something funny was going on.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove[3]. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach[4]. sit back and Relax. we’ll dRive[5]!

  1. Well, now:
  2. deforestation:
  3. Pirate’s Cove:
  4. @WilliamTeach:
  5. sit back and Relax. we’ll dRive:

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