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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 2, NUMBER 8, AUGUST 1989

NEWS...
TROPICAL FORESTS


Item #d89aug1

The World Resources Institute has completed a report on the strategy of planting trees to counter greenhouse warming from carbon released to the atmosphere by fossil fuel combustion. (See REPORTS/CARBON SEQUESTRATION, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--August 1989.) The study represents the Institute's role in a program announced last fall whereby an independent U.S. electric power utility (a subsidiary of Applied Energy Services of Arlington, Virginia) will spend $2 million to plant trees in Guatemala. Carbon dioxide absorbed by the growing trees is expected to offset the carbon emissions from an 80 megawatt coal-fired plant the firm will build in Connecticut. The grant will be made to the international organization CARE, which will work with the Guatemalan forestry service and the Peace Corps on forest management and soil conservation and will help 40,000 farmers plant 52 million trees on small plots over a 10-year period. CARE will provide another $2 million in funds. For a discussion of this project and current views on this approach to offsetting global warming see "CO2: How Will We Spell Relief?" (J. Raloff, Science News, pp. 411, 414, Dec. 24/31, 1988) and "To Halt Climate Change, Scientists Try Trees" (W.K. Stevens, New York Times, pp. C1, C6, July 18, 1989).

Following are recent news items related to tropical forest preservation:

"Europe Council Unanimously Approves Tropical Forest Preservation Program," Intl. Environ. Rptr., p. 318, June 1989. The 23-member nations of the Council of Europe voted to give priority to preserving tropical forests in the council's development aid program and made related recommendations. An Austrian amendment to cut tropical forest timber exports by 90 percent was not approved.

"Nations Agree to Save Tropical Forests...," ibid., pp. 318-319. The International Tropical Timber Organization adopted only eight of the 21 points in a proposed action plan for tropical forests at its May annual meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Environmental groups such as Worldwide Fund for Nature will push for firmer action next year.

"Japan No Help to Rain Forests," D. Swinbanks, Nature, p. 606, April 1989. A report on the tropical timber trade released by the Worldwide Fund for Nature severely criticizes the management of Japan's overseas development assistance, and makes suggestions for improvement in environmental policy.

"Brazil Reacts Angrily," Greenhouse Effect Report, p. 19, Mar. 1989. Apparently responding to pressure by the military, President Jose Sarne of Brazil backed off on his commitment to stem deforestation in Amazonia, and declined to attend the March 10, 1989, conference in the Hague on the world environment.

"Japan and Brazil Team Up," D. Swinbanks, A. Anderson, Nature, p. 103, Mar. 9, 1989. Japan intends to build a road linking the upper reaches of the Amazon basin with the Pacific coast of Peru, opening large areas of forest to exploitation. Senator Robert Kasten of Wisconsin has introduced legislation calling for the Secretary of State to oppose the plan.

"Dispute Grows over Malaysia's Forests," M. Cross, New Scientist, p. 27, Feb. 4, 1989. The Thai government banned commercial logging after illegal logging caused flash floods that killed 350 villagers last November; Sarawak on the island of Borneo passed a new law intended to crush opposition to intense logging there.

"More Funds for Forest Research," C. McGourty, Nature, p. 511, Dec. 8, 1988. Bilateral and multilateral donors, development banks, non-governmental organizations and researchers meeting near London, concerned about deforestation and environmental degradation, adopted most recommendations of the report of an international task force on tropical forestry research, including doubling funds to $100 million annually.

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