Environmental Groups Want US Climate Bill Expanded

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Environmental Groups in the US want to expand climate bill forestry aid.

Environmental Groups based in the US are trying to expand a climate change bill being written in the United States Senate, to help foreign countries pay for enforcing laws they already have in place for protecting forests as one way of reducing carbon pollution.

The US House of Representatives passed legislation last year designed to set up financial incentives to encourage new steps in the US and abroad for reducing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

But there are doubts it would let those financial incentives flow to foreign countries, such as Brazil and Indonesia, with forest protection laws already in place, but few resources to enforce them.

“We have been talking to a lot of people about this issue,” said Sarene Marshall, deputy director of the Nature Conservancy’s climate change program.

She added the “vast majority of deforestation in the Amazon is technically illegal as Brazil has one of the most far-reaching protection laws on the books. We’re talking about programs that actually help move landowners into compliance.”

Indonesian forestry officials were in Washington last week trying to enhance cooperative efforts between the two countries. Indonesia is the world’s third largest carbon polluter when taking into account deforestation and land use and not just smoke stack pollution.

Wandojo Siswanto, chairman of Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry told Reuters News Agency, that he hoped President Barack Obama’s visit to his country next week might result in a bilateral agreement to enhance U.S. – Indonesian forest management collaboration.

“We need international support” with forest protection, said Mr. Siswanto, added “we believe that the (UN led) negotiations couldn’t be moving forward without the leadership of the US.”


  • Mark Spowart

    A writer and photographer, Spowart has publication credits in Canada, United States, Europe and Norway with such publications as The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Sun Media, Canwest News, and Canada News Wire.

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