Novel carbon-trading scheme could stop large-scale extinctions

December 3, 2009

A new strategy for saving tropical forest species was published in the leading journal Science on the eve of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark, by a team of researchers, including William Laurance, senior staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and distinguished professor at James Cook University. The authors state that wealthy countries should adopt a carbon-payment system that explicitly incorporates biodiversity values.

"If we're smart we could combat global warming while saving some of the most endangered wildlife on Earth," said Laurance. "Billions of dollars will be spent on forest-carbon initiatives in the next decade, and this could translate into huge benefits for vanishing species if we focus some of the spending in places where tropical biodiversity is most imperiled."

Destruction of causes about 20 percent of human-caused carbon emissions. In strategies to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, carbon-producing nations pay tropical countries to keep some of their land in forest. The authors, mostly researchers working with Hugh Possingham, director of the Ecology Centre at the University of Queensland, evaluated several carbon-based credit scenarios.

"Dollar for dollar, a carbon-focused approach contributes little to slowing biodiversity loss and will save far fewer species than a biodiversity-focused strategy that targets the most imperiled forests," said lead author Oscar Venter, doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland.

A biodiversity-based system would change where carbon funds are spent, resulting in less money for areas like the where relatively few species are endangered because considerable forest remains. Spending to stem biodiversity loss would favor high-biodiversity nations in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, where most forests have already vanished.

The team's findings are expected to draw attention at the forthcoming climate negotiations, where international leaders hope to hammer out a final strategy for combating global warming.

Source: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Explore further: Developing nations help tropical forests

Related Stories

Developing nations help tropical forests

April 12, 2006

A rainforest biologist from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama says developing nations may help stop tropical forest destruction.

New climate treaty could put species at risk

November 16, 2009

Plans to be discussed at the forthcoming UN climate conference in Copenhagen to cut deforestation in developing countries could save some species from extinction but inadvertently increase the risk to others, scientists believe.

Recommended for you

The world needs to rethink the value of water

November 23, 2017

Research led by Oxford University highlights the accelerating pressure on measuring, monitoring and managing water locally and globally. A new four-part framework is proposed to value water for sustainable development to ...

'Lost' 99% of ocean microplastics to be identified with dye?

November 23, 2017

The smallest microplastics in our oceans – which go largely undetected and are potentially harmful – could be more effectively identified using an innovative and inexpensive new method, developed by researchers at the ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Dec 04, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
not rated yet Dec 04, 2009
We will probably hear propaganda from the wealthy interests behind carbon monetezation for quite some time. Their schemes aren't related to climate change; it doesn't matter if the temperature goes up, down, or if the IPCC claims both are happening at the same time, you will still pay your carbon taxes.

The general direction of human travel is that the poor labor for the rich, the rich seize a varying portion of their earnings and maintain ultimate authority over their remaining possessions. The state functions to ensure this relationship is maintained, using force if necessary. Successive generations of rich persons attempt ever more intricate schemes for gaining what remains from previous grindings of the poor, such that over time the entire population is rendered into bondage and civil order collapses.

This cycle repeats with the same reliability as ice ages and warming ages and appears in every nation on earth.
not rated yet Dec 04, 2009
I'm sorry if this crosses the editorial boundry of Physorg, but this whole climategate i think has exposed that the rich leftist progressive elite want to keep the majority of people poor. How else can you explain cap and trade, telling people not to drive (cant drive big safe vehicles), telling people what to eat (must be organically and locally grown), must be taxed (unless your super rich, or unless your poor) and the money given to union heads and corrupt organizations, etc. etc.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.