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“Make Forests Pay”: Environmental experts flip the deforestation debate

Columbia University/City University of New York environmental experts are promoting the trading of measureable “carbon offsets” resulting from not clearing tropical forests.

It’s a complex but plausible, environmentally-positive concept now being tested in South America and Southeast Asia. And it is yet another example of how market-based solutions by business-NGO-government partnerships can address global climate change.

For the sake of accuracy, it’s best to present these excerpts from a new New York Times op-ed  by the scientists applying the concept:

“There is a powerful economic argument for preservation. Forests’ carbon reserves can be monetized and sold as offsets to greenhouse gas emitters who need them to comply with regulatory emissions limits or who voluntarily want to reduce their carbon footprint …

“A potential pool of assets has been largely left off the table — offsets that represent carbon emissions avoided  by not destroying tropical forests … In recent years, accurate and inexpensive techniques have been developed to quantify and verify carbon emissions that would be avoided by not destroying forests… a new system known as the Rainforest Standard…

“[These] forest offsets can make a real difference. Allowing them to be traded would give carbon reserves tangible value that could be sold for real money, which could be used to protect these biologically diverse forests.”

And for context:

“Corporations in growing numbers understand what’s at stake. In September, 40 companies, including Kellogg and Nestle, pledged to cut tropical deforestation in half by 2020 and stop it entirely by 2030”