World Bank Targets Forest-Preservation Link to Climate: Report

World Bank Targets Forest-PreservationLink to Climate: Report

12 June 2007

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The global effort to stem climate change could soon include payingcountries in the tropical belt not to cut down their rain forests, beginningwith a World Bank pilot project, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. TheWorld Bank is planning to start a 250-million-dollar investment fund to rewardcountries such as Indonesia, Brazil and Congo for “avoiding deforestation,”according to the report.

Until now, efforts under the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to cutgreenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, have centered on reducingemissions from industries, said the report.

The Group of Eight industrialized nations, after meeting last week in Germany,concluded that stopping deforestation could provide a “significant andcost-effective contribution toward mitigating greenhouse-gas emissions” andencouraged the development of the World Bank’s project, the report said. Thereport said that deforestation accounts for some 20 percent of global carbonemissions, mainly from fires started in forests to clear land. It is the majorcause of greenhouse gases in some developing nations such as Indonesia. TheWorld Bank says forested areas equivalent to the size of Portugal are beingcleared each year.

Many details of the project remain to be ironed out. The World Bank hopes theGroup of Eight nations will supply most of the 250 million dollars, BenoitBosquet, a senior natural-resources management specialist at the World Bank whois leading efforts to develop the pilot project, was quoted as saying.

The World Bank will work with governments, local communities andnon-governmental organizations to set guidelines on how to monitor projects andmake sure money will be channeled only to those that strictly protect forestedareas, said the report. To qualify, governments also will have to sign up tonationwide-action plans combating issues such as illegal logging, the reportsaid.

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