The current carbon market actually encourages cutting down some of the world's biggest forests, which would unleash tonnes of climate-warming carbon into the atmosphere, a new study reported on Monday.
Under the Kyoto Protocol aimed at stemming climate change, there is no profitable reason for the 10 countries and one French territory with 20 percent of Earth's intact tropical forest to maintain this resource, according to a study in the journal Public Library of Science Biology. The Kyoto treaty and other talks on global warming focus on so-called carbon credits for countries and companies that plant new trees where forests have been destroyed.
Trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas emitted by petroleum-fueled vehicles, coal-fired power plants and humans. At this point, there is no credit for countries that keep the forests they have, the study said. "The countries that haven't really been the target of deforestation have nothing to sell because they haven't deforested anything," said Gustavo Fonseca, one of the study's authors.
"So that creates a perverse incentive for them to actually start deforesting, so that in the future, they might be allowed to actually cap-and-trade, as they call it: you put a cap on your deforestation and you trade that piece that hasn't been deforested," Fonseca said in a telephone interview.
The countries most at risk for this kind of deforestation, because they all have more than half their original forests intact, are Panama, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru, Belize, Gabon, Guyana, Suriname, Bhutan and Zambia, along with the French territory of French Guiana.
FULL STORY here
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