Patching up Kyoto

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Joseph Stiglitz notes one of the key flaws of the Kyoto Protocol: it doesn’t give countries any incentive to preserve their rainforests, despite the fact that many poor countries have some rather obvious incentives to cut down their forests, and despite the fact that forests obviously play a useful role in keeping carbon concentration in the atmosphere down.

Now some developing countries like Costa Rica have begun paying for environmental services, like forest maintenance, to counteract this trend; but the program could really kick off if rich countries could kick in a few bucks. And why should they do such a thing? Because those countries who have signed onto the Kyoto Protocol are actually being subsidized by rainforest countries:

The Kyoto Protocol has generated new markets for trading carbon emissions, such as the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). At current carbon prices, the value of carbon sequestration by tropical rainforests likely equals or exceeds the current level of international aid being provided to developing countries. In effect, the poor are aiding the rich.

These are some weird glitches in the whole system, and some leading countries would rather just sit around and wait until 2012 to fix them. That, needless to say, would be far too late.

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

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