Prince Charles calls for rainforest protection to fight climate change
May 15, 2008
Speaking on the BBC's Today program, Charles said he supported the establishment a mechanism that would compensate tropical countries for preserving their forests. He noted that forests provide critical services for humanity.
"When you think [rainforests] release 20 billion tonnes of water vapor into the air every day, and also absorb carbon on a gigantic scale, they are incredibly valuable, and they provide the rainfall we all depend on," Charles said.
"The trouble is the rainforests are home to something like 1.4 billion of the poorest people in the world. In order to survive there has to be an effort to produce things which tends to be at the expense of the rainforest," he continued. "What we've got to do is try to ensure that those forests are more valuable alive than dead. At the moment there's more value in them being dead. This is the crazy thing."
Rainforest in Borneo
The prince called on governments, business, and consumers to demand an end to rainforest destruction.
The prince's comments come as European and Latin American ministers meet at a summit in Peru. Climate change and deforestation are expected to be hot topics at the discussions.
Advocates for ecosystem services payments have high hopes for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), a proposed policy mechanism that would compensate tropical countries for safeguarding their forests. While REDD was explicitly excluded from the Kyoto Protocol, policymakers meeting at climate talks in Bali last December signaled that forestry would play a role in future emissions mitigation schemes.
(5/14/2008) Al Gore's investment firm has signaled an interest in the emerging market for ecosystem services by taking an equity position in an innovative Australian financial company. Tuesday London-based Generation Investment Management announced a minority stake in Sydney-based New Forests Pty Limited, a firm that specializes in business models that deliver returns from environmental markets such as carbon, biodiversity and water. Al Gore is the chairman of Generation Investment Management.
(5/14/2008) U.S. policy measures to fight global warming could help protect disappearing rainforests, says the founding partner of an "avoided deforestation" policy group. In an interview with mongabay.com, Jeff Horowitz of the Berkeley-based Avoided Deforestation Partners argues that U.S. policy initiatives could serve as a catalyst for the emergence and growth of a carbon credits market for forest conservation. REDD or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation is a proposed policy mechanism that would compensate tropical countries for safeguarding their forests. Because deforestation accounts for around a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, efforts to reduce deforestation can help fight climate change. Forest protection also offers ancillary benefits like the preservation of ecosystem services, biodiversity, and a homeland for indigenous people.
(4/2/2008) Last week London-based Canopy Capital, a private equity firm, announced a historic deal to preserve the rainforest of Iwokrama, a 371,000-hectare reserve in the South American country of Guyana. In exchange for funding a "significant" part of Iwokrama's $1.2 million research and conservation program on an ongoing basis, Canopy Capital secured the right to develop value for environmental services provided by the reserve. Essentially the financial firm has bet that the services generated by a living rainforest — including rainfall generation, climate regulation, biodiversity maintenance and carbon storage — will eventually be valuable in international markets. Hylton Murray-Philipson, director of Canopy Capital, says the agreement — which returns 80 percent of the proceeds to the people of Guyana — could set the stage for an era where forest conservation is driven by the pursuit of profit rather than overt altruistic concerns.