Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fund against deforestation in Amazon rainforest - Norway leads the way

Deforestation is big threat to Amazon rainforest. Logging and burning in Amazon rainforest releases about 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. There is not only the problem of excessive emission because of burning and logging but there is also one other important issue, namely nature ability of forests to act as a carbon sink that slows down increase of CO2 emission into the atmosphere which is crucial if we want to succeed in fight against global warming.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva recently signed a decree creating a fund that will seek donations from developed countries that should stop current rate of deforestation in Amazon rainforest that could raise as much as $21 billion by 2021 for projects promoting alternatives to rain forest destruction. It looks like a Norvay, rich Scandinavian country, could lead the way.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said that "Norway will give Brazil $1 billion by 2015 to preserve the Amazon rain forest, as long as Brazil reduces deforestation". According to Stoltenberg "Efforts against deforestation may give us the largest, quickest and cheapest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and Brazilian efforts against deforestation are therefore of vital importance if we shall succeed in our campaign against global warming".

We totally agree with Mr. Stoltenberg and would only add to this how reducing deforestation in Amazon rainforest is also important to preserve the richest biodiversity on Earth, with many unique species of plants and animals. 20 % of Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed and this alarming trend must be stopped as soon as possible. Of course this can be only done with large funds and sustainable development, othervise deforestation will continue to make way for cattle ranches and soy plantations that are becoming more popular and very profitable because of soaring world food prices.

Norway will give Brazil $21 million this year and $210 million next year, but in order to ensure full billion Brazilian government will have to give "clear documentation that deforestation is being reduced". Norway plans not only to use Brazil's annual statistics on deforestation but to develop better systems to track deforestation, which are quite necessary given that clouds hang over the jungle for much of the year, making observation very difficult.

With Germany and two other unnamed nations also planing to donate to the fund, it looks like the fund could be success. However raising money is only half job done, it is much more difficult to spend it wisely, for the right cause.

Logging and burning in Amazon rainforest releases about 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.

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