Deforestation, a critical contributor to climate change, effectively accounts for 20 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and 70 percent of the emissions in Brazil. Halting new deforestation, experts say, is as powerful a way to combat warming as closing the world’s coal plants.
But until now, there has been no financial reward for keeping forest standing. Which is why a growing number of scientists, politicians and environmentalists argue that cash payments — like that offered to Mr. Marcolini — are the only way to end tropical forest destruction and provide a game-changing strategy in efforts to limit global warming.Unlike high-tech solutions like capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide or making “green” fuel from algae, preserving a forest yields a strikingly simple environmental payback: a landowner reduces his property’s emissions to zero.
Are you ready for some mind-blowing statistics? (Keep in mind, the Amazon accounts for about 17% of the world's forested area and deforestation and forest degradation make make up the second largest overall contributor to global warming) At the current deforestation rate, the Amazon is losing nearly 5 million acres per year. Since 1970, about 230,000 square miles have been lost. It is predicted that at the current rate, the Amazon will be cut in half by 2030. Do you know what the land sans trees is being used for? Cattle. In 2004, Brazil surpassed the United States as the largest meat exporter and has maintained approximately a 25% market share since.
I'm just saying... Who knows if paying the land owners will help. I bet a decreasing demand for meat would though. Bottom line: Saving the rain forest (or rainforest - it was one word in 1989) is one of our biggest challenges.