WASHINGTON, May 20 — Several of the nation’s top environmental groups, conservation organizations, and corporate leaders today released details of an agreement on policies aimed at protecting the world’s tropical forests. Ongoing burning and destruction of these forests is responsible for approximately one-fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions — more than all the world’s cars, trucks, planes, and ships combined.
The coalition includes: American Electric Power, Conservation International, Duke Energy, Environmental Defense Fund, El Paso Corporation, National Wildlife Federation, Marriott International, Mercy Corps, Natural Resources Defense Council, PG&E Corporation, Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Walt Disney Company, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Woods Hole Research Center.
In the policies outlined by the agreement, companies would be eligible to receive credit for reducing climate pollution by financing conservation of tropical forests. In addition, five percent of the value of new greenhouse gas emission permits would be dedicated to tropical forest conservation. The full agreement is available on Avoided Deforestation Partners’ website at http://www.adpartners.org.
“Chairman Waxman, Congressman Markey, and the entire committee deserve real credit for including these powerful tropical forest conservation measures in their legislation,” said Jeff Horowitz, founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners. “When environmentalists and major corporate leaders can agree, real change has come.”
Coalition members praised the agreement.
“These tropical forest protections will help make tackling climate change both more affordable and comprehensive,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Climate legislation that appropriately values preservation of our world’s largest and most vulnerable forest regions is good for the planet, but also is good for the U.S. economy and electricity customers.”
“Fighting global warming and moving to a clean energy economy will require the world come together and protect the world’s tropical forests,” said Frances Beinecke, president of NRDC. “The United States needs to lead the way in protecting these forests by including the right incentives in the comprehensive climate change legislation moving through Congress.”
The agreement discusses the importance of protecting tropical forests for alleviating poverty, promoting peace and security, and protecting endangered wildlife. The agreement also includes specific protections for biodiversity, indigenous and forest-dependent communities, and the rural poor.
The signers of the agreement called for the United States to lead the effort towards international solutions to end global deforestation and solve the climate crisis.