Saving Forests and Reducing Global Warming Pollution

12-17-09 Deforestation Brazilian Amazon By:  Larry J. Schweiger

Carbon released into the atmosphere when trees are cut down contributes about the same amount of global warming pollution as the world’s entire transportation sector. Which is why the announcement here in Copenhagen by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack that the U.S. will contribute $1 billion in the next three years toward the near team financing of reversing deforestation in developing countries is good news.

This is a welcome and important step for both reducing global warming pollution and protecting the biological treasures of tropical forests which also support the livelihoods of millions.

In addition to this important near term commitment we need to secure longer term commitments such as those in the climate bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June, which dedicates $55 billion longer term, from 2012-2025, to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+).

Because our planet cannot wait, National Wildlife Federation has been working with coalition partners to secure these important forestry provisions in U.S. domestic legislation and support REDD+ as a key component of these Copenhagen negotiations.