Saturday, December 15, 2007

How to stop deforestation?

The Nature Conservancy has pledged $5 million towards the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), an innovative new initiative launched on December 11, 2007 in Bali by the World Bank to address the largest overlooked contributor to climate change — the destruction of forests.

The Conservancy’s acting President and CEO Stephanie Meeks talked with about this new partnership — and its potential to help stem the tide of global climate change. What is the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility — and why is The Nature Conservancy making such a significant contribution to it?

Stephanie Meeks: The goal of this partnership is to demonstrate that giving forest-rich developing countries incentives to preserve their standing tropical forests — not cut them down – can be part of the global solution to climate change.

Right now, developing countries earn more from cutting forests than from keeping them standing. This partnership will bring developed and industrialized countries together — along with forest communities, indigenous groups, the private sector and civil society — to experiment with ways to establish a financial value for the carbon stored in standing forests.

The $5 million investment we’re making will help provide some of the seed money needed to figure out how to make this work on a large-scale. The Conservancy is the only non-governmental organization to invest in this partnership, which could grow to more than $200 million. The Conservancy will join other investors in the Facility, including the governments of Germany, Japan, Australia, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland.

For the Conservancy, reducing emissions from deforestation is a key part of our strategy to address climate change. Establishing financial incentives for stopping deforestation, through a global forest carbon market or other mechanism, is a win-win-win – good for the climate, good for biodiversity and good for local communities.

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