WB Plans Intl Fund to Fight Deforestation

WASHINGTON ~ The World Bank is planning an international fund of at least US$250 million to fight deforestation, which contributes to global warming, a bank official said.

The targets for the fund are all countries that have significant rainforests, Werner Kornexl, senior technical specialist in the carbon finance unit, said.

That includes countries in Latin America, Central Africa and Southeast Asia, especially but, mainly, significant carbon dioxide emitters such as Brazil, Congo and Indonesia, he said.

The program “will be performance based, so a country will only receive funds after it was measured and verified that the emissions were reduced,” said Kornexl.

“That could be a historical deforestation rate that has been reduced in future and this difference is the difference that will be paid,” he said.

Deforestation, which advances at a rate of five percent per decade, is responsible for 20 percent of the total annual carbon dioxide emissions – or three billion tons of CO2, according to a World Bank report released in late October.

“We have been requested by the G8 (group of industrialized nations) to design the facility (funding program) but this is something that we have been working on already for some time,” said Kornexl, who said bank officials hoped to launch the program at the next major UN Climate Conference, in Bali in December.

The Bali conference is aimed at setting up a framework for an agreement that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

The fund will include public and private donors, Kornexl said.

“The bank is not putting money; it will be carried by investors and donors,” he said.

“There are companies that are already investing in climate change activities and forestry, that shows very huge interest,” he said.

Kornexl said the bank “would only declare it effective whenever we have everything together.”

Forests provide 47 million jobs worldwide, according to the World Wildlife Fund, and cover 30 to 40 percent of the earth’s land area.

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