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$280 million pledged by nations to halt deforestation

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As part of a multi-billion dollar climate change initiative, the governments of Norway, Britain and the United States have allocated $280 million towards stopping worldwide deforestation. The announcement was made at united Nations talks in Warsaw, where thousands of delegates met to hammer out the foundations of a new global treaty to combat climate change.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Part of the nations' previously announced climate finances, the funds will now be administered by the World Bank's BioCarbon Fund. Part of the stated goals are sustainable farming and better land use.

While it is necessary for human life, agriculture is directly responsible for around 80 percent of the planet's deforestation. Farming causes nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions as forests, spanning the width of nation of Costa Rica is chopped down worldwide each year.

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"This isn't just an environmental issue. It's an economic issue. It's an energy issue," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Norway says it will contribute up to $135 million to the initiative. Britain has pledged $120 million and the United States $25 million. Further funding, both private and public is now being sought.

The U.N. summit is struggling to make progress on an effort to protect forests and cut carbon emissions, known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD+.

With only three days left, negotiators remain bogged down in a quarrel over institutional arrangements. Nations had all intended to create a mechanism for funding forest projects to help unlock greater investments from governments and the private sector.

"Parties are focusing all their energy arguing about the politics of who governs REDD+ finance, when the real issue is a lack of demand," Matt Leggett, head of policy at forest think-tank Global Canopy Program says.

Legget says the program must create demand for nearly 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent to cut deforestation by half, but current projects are only set to cut emissions by 160 million tons.

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