November 24, 2007
“As World Steps Forward to Help Save Tropical Forests, US Retreats”
Diplomats in Bali Indonesia begin 2 weeks of meetings December 3rd. One of the key topics to be discussed is how to devise new ways to save tropical forests. As 20% of global greenhouse gases, tropical deforestation is the second leading cause of climate change behind fossil fuel combustion. Most countries have significantly increased funding to save tropical forests. The World Bank at the request of the G8, is creating a new $350 million vehicle to help developing countries save forest. Australia, which may soon rejoin the Kyoto process, has committed $200 million Australian in new monies for tropical forests. The Untied States is poised to dramatic decrease money for tropical forests.
The US Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) is the largest pot of money the US sets aside exclusively for helping developing countries conserve threatened tropical forests. And it is again under assault. This time the threat is dilution rather than inactivity (link to TFCA article). Although 30 million acres of tropical forests are destroyed each year, The Treasury Department, which administers the TFCA, says they cannot find enough places to invest money to save forests. The TFCA expires at the end of 2007 and is due to be re-authorized this year. At the behest of the Treasury Department, US House of Representatives passed HR 2185 in October to expand the TFCA’s mandate to conserve coral reefs. Which would be great, except the bill contains a smaller congressional financial authorization for saving tropical forests. And now, the pot of money is smaller to start, and coral reefs will be competing with tropical forests for the funds.
We at TFG have an easy solution. Find out who your senator is
. Write down their telephone number. Then simply pick up the phone and call your senator to let them know whether you like coral reefs or tropical forests. Do you like them? Do you like them both? Do you think it should be one or the other that makes it into the next century? Should coral reefs and tropical forests be thrown into a pit and made to fight one another for limited US funding? You can suggest one way to improve S 2020: double it’s funding — from $20 million to $40 million — so the United States can realistically help conserve two types of ecosystems. By the way, $40 million is still less than 65 cents per US family to help save coral reefs and
“Saving tropical forests is one of 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. “The US is ½ of one of the three branches of government away from undermining the most promising new way to fight climate change multi-laterally”.