The biodiesel boom has a high environmental cost, however. Critics say it’s contributing to global warming. Tropical forests help remove millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year. Burning and clear-cutting not only eliminates one of the planet’s crucial air-filtration systems, the process also releases even more carbon dioxide into the air, in smoke or as gases released during the decomposition of forest waste. Annual clearing of Indonesia’s carbon-rich peatlands alone releases some 1.8 billion tons of greenhouse gases, according to a Greenpeace report. Indonesia is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind the U.S. and China, says the World Bank. “We liken what’s going on [in Indonesia] to pouring petrol on a fire,” says Martin Baker, a Hong Kong–based communications officer for Greenpeace International. “It’s completely ridiculous to produce green fuels from places like this.”
This just makes we want to jit my head against the wall. Tropical forests are some of the most efficient sinks of carbon, and countries that hold these sinks should be paid as well as countries that are sources of carbon. Yes, this means setting a realistic carbon pricing scheme that can eliminate this perverse incentive to destroy tropical rain forests so Western nations can claim to be environmentally friendly.
This is not a bribe, or an incentive, it is recognition of the fact that carbon sinks have a monetary value.
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