Greenpeace activists set ablaze a tree stump from the Amazon rainforest, on the Rhine River, Bonn. The stump is accompanied by seven inflatables carrying banners that read: "Save the forests" in seven different languages.
To remind Chancellor Merkel of the need for urgent action to
protect what is left of the world's rainforests, early this morning
Greenpeace activists set light to a five metre high tree stump, the
remainder of a tree felled in the Amazon, on the River Rhine in
Bonn. Stationed on a platform in the middle of the Rhine, near to
where the UN conference is taking place, 50 Greenpeace activists,
in ten inflatables, unfurled banners reading: "Forests are burning.
Save the climate".
Shortly after, Merkel arrived to join other government leaders
to attend the Ministerial discussions at the UN's biodiversity
conference in Bonn. Representatives from 191 countries are trying
to seal a deal that will help to preserve the world's plants,
animals and natural resources and protect the climate.
Germany's announcement comes just one week after Greenpeace
challenged G8 countries, including Germany, to provide more funding
for forest protection. We argued that only by doing this would
others believe that these countries' are serious about tackling
Greenpeace wants the money pledged to lead towards a
legally-binding agreement for a global fund that could be used to
halt deforestation. We launched our new proposal called 'Forests
for Climate' at a press conference last week in Bonn. The concept
behind the plan is quite simple. Rich countries, who have
historically been the biggest polluters and contributors to climate
change, would have to pay into the UN administered fund. The money
would then be used to reward those developing countries that
protect their rainforests. By putting in place this system of
financial incentives, it is hoped that it will make economic sense
for developing countries, like Brazil and Indonesia, to stop
deforesting their land.
Greenpeace wants the mechanism to be part of the next phase of
the Kyoto global climate deal to be implemented when the existing
commitment period ends in 2012.
Of course, we can't afford to wait another four years for
governments to act on deforestation. Deforestation is responsible
for about a fifth of all global greenhouse emissions - that's more
than the world's entire transport sector. If we are to have any
hope of tackling climate change, action to stop the destruction of
rainforests needs to happen right now.
That's why last week Greenpeace asked the German government, as
hosts of the UN conference, to pledge 2 billion Euros each year
until 2012 to plug the gap. This would mean that financial
incentives for countries to protect their forests would be
available right away.
Norway recently took the bold step of pledging two billion Euros
over the next five years. While Germany's announcement today hasn't
gone as far as Greenpeace wanted, the money they have pledged is
certainly a step in the right direction. Now, we want other G8
members to follow suit and match or even exceed Germany's
Greenpeace estimates that between 20-27 billion Euros each year
is needed to stop the destruction of the rainforests, save its
animals and plants and to guarantee the rights of people living in
Brazil has already shown that it is possible to reduce the rate
of deforestation. The country has lost more rainforest than any
other country in the world. Yet between 2003 and 2006 the rate of
deforestation declined in the Amazon. This was in part thanks to
Greenpeace and other NGOs working together to help make sure that
authorities could properly enforce protection measures in the
Amazon. Having said this, in 2007 the rate of deforestation is on
the increase again which only shows the importance of a sustained
effort over a long period of time if measures to tackle this
problem are to be effective.
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