One of the little-known ingredients of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, H.R. 2454 is a breakthrough agreement on ending tropical deforestation, which is responsible for about 20 percent of global climate pollution—more than the emissions from all the cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined.
The Waxman-Markey legislation contains two primary tropical forest provisions that, combined, help meet the bill’s goals for reducing pollution in a way cost effective enough to win the support it needs to pass. First, it sets aside 5 percent of the bill’s pollution allowances to fund tropical forest conservation. Second, it allows emitters to get credit for investing in tropical forest conservation subject to a set of strict requirements.
Set-aside funding. The revenue from the 5 percent set aside can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
Private investment. The bill also includes powerful incentives for private investment in forest conservation and subject to strict requirements. The bill allows emitters to offset a portion of their pollution by investing in forest conservation. However, they can only get credit after reductions in deforestation have already occurred and, in major emitting countries such as Brazil and Indonesia, only if those reductions come as part of a national plan that ensures a countrywide reduction in deforestation, not just a local one. Conservation projects run through states and provinces will also be eligible—if the state or province would be considered a major emitting country in its own right and if it has a plan for reducing deforestation statewide.
Finally, for the program’s first years, small emitting countries and the least-developed nations will be eligible to participate while they build their national plans for reducing deforestation. This ensures that conservation can start immediately and we can avoid a deforestation race to the bottom. No conservation will receive credit unless biodiversity is protected, and indigenous and forest-dependent people benefit from it.
The consulting firm McKinsey & Co. recently conducted a greenhouse gas abatement cost curve analysis and found that tropical forest conservation has the potential to reduce carbon pollution at just a fraction of the cost of other essential strategies such as installing clean energy or improving agricultural practices. In the words of a recent New York Times editorial, “the economics make sense.”
The private investment incentives helped win the support of power producers such as American Electric Power and Duke Energy by lowering the costs of the bill. They also helped ensure that the 5 percent set aside would remain as part of the bill, even as other environmental spending was cut—the utilities and other companies had previously agreed through a negotiating process convened by Avoided Deforestation Partners to support these government funding provisions if the private investment provisions were also included.
The Waxman-Markey bill’s forest provisions provide a model for action by other countries. If the bill passes and other industrialized countries adopt similar tropical forest conservation measures, deforestation could be ended or even reversed—a huge global achievement that, until Waxman-Markey, seemed tragically out of reach.
This piece originally appeared in Climate Progress.
Quiite surprising despite sever problem of water and air pollution by industries cars ,drains the deforestation is coming down .Particularly in underdeveloped and undeveloped countries the forestsare still means of livelihood encouraging deforestation.
quite true : In these days of industrialisation,mobility through fast conveyances scope of burning coal and diesel etc. have increased enormously resulting in the the total devastation in the environment. If this trend is not stopped nothing flora fauna and humane race would be saved.