When it comes to causing global warming, the destruction of forests is second only to burning of coal and other fossil fuels. Now, the developing world has a new tool to protect its vast rain forests.
The World Bank has set up a new fund designed to help developing nations preserve their forests. The bank has raised $160 million of the $300 million necessary for the fund, and 30 nations have expressed interest. Indonesia, the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, owing to rapid deforestation, is one obvious target.
To that end, in a separate move, the United States has offered Indonesia a $19 million debt-for-nature swap, according to Asia Pulse. If accepted, the U.S. would forgive debt if Indonesia makes comparable investments in preserving its natural environment.
Protesters, meanwhile, criticized the World Bank forest protection program.
Theyve packaged up their carbon trading agenda under the guise of forest protection, when in fact this Facility will result in more forest destruction, more displacement of indigenous peoples and more carbon emissions, said Anne Petermann, Co-Director of Global Justice Ecology Project. "Its a lose-lose-lose proposition for everyone but big business.
Here's a roundup of other news out of Bali:
Environmentalists and U.N. officials are looking to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to endorse a 25-40% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020, the major sticking point in the emerging agreement on a roadmap for the next international global warming treaty, according to various press accounts. The United States opposes that hard target. A new champion of international action on climate change since he signed the Kyoto Protocol as his first act in power, Rudd has so far said he won't endorse numerical targets until he sees additional scientific analysis. Japan, meanwhile, which had been in America's camp (along with Canada) appears to be warming to the idea, according to one account from Japan Economic Newswire.
A United Nations report has warned of "adaptation apartheid," in which only the rich will be able to prepare for the ravages of global warming, unless the world spends $86 billion annually, according to Chinese state-run media. Nations did agree to spend the $67 million accumulated under the Kyoto Protocol in an adaptation fund for developing nations, according to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
An Australian inventory of bird diversity warns that 66 tropical birds face extinction if nothing is done to slow global warming, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Seven of the 10 nations worst-hit by global warming in 2006 were in Asia, according to a report detailed by Deutsche Presse-Agentur. The 10: The Philippines, North Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, India, China, Afghanistan, the United States and Romania.
Brazil has held up approval of a measure that would eliminate tariffs on green technology like wind turbines and solar panels because it does not include biofuels, according to the New Zealand Herald. Brazil has become a leading producer of ethanol from sugar cane.
The World Wildlife Fund warned that Antarctica's penguins are threatened with extinction because of global warming, and some species have declined by as much as 66% in the past quarter century.
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