U.S. likely to cut funding for tropical forest conservation during Bali climate talks
U.S. to cut funding for rainforest conservation during Bali climate talks
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
December 6, 2007
While delegates meet in Bali to discuss a post-Kyoto framework on climate change, it appears likely that the U.S. Treasury Department will cut funding for the Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA), the largest pool of U.S. government money exclusively for helping developing countries conserve threatened tropical forests, according to the Tropical Forest Group, a forest policy group based in Santa Barbara.
Deforestation in Peru
The Tropical Forest Group says that an October decision to expand the TFCA’s mandate to conserve coral reefs means that the bill currently under consideration in Senate (Senate Bill 2020) will contain the smallest congressional authorization ($20 million) for saving tropical forests in the entire history of the TFCA. In previous years, congress authorized up to $100 million per year, though the Bush administration has yet to fund projects at this level. The new legislation means that tropical forests and coral reefs will “compete” for limited U.S. funds. Meanwhile the Australian government has announced more than AU$200 million in new funds for tropical conservation, while the British government recently set aside $100 million for protection of rainforests in the Congo basin.
“Saving tropical forests is the most important immediate solutions to combat climate change. The rest of the world gets it. The US, already sidelined by its refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, continues its slide into obscurity” said Jeff Metcalfe, director of the Tropical Forest Group. “Saving the rainforest is something nearly every American supports. If the Senate passes this bill (Senate Bill 2020) — scheduled for a vote any day — it will turn America’s back to international diplomacy, climate change, and the environment”.