Climate talks agree to pay to protect forests

A new climate change deal reached in Mexico has set up a global framework to pay to protect rainforests vital to the ecosystem, but held off on the controversial introduction of a market role.

The deal aims to help developing nations fight deforestation by offering incentives to some 1.2 billion inhabitants of worldwide forests, and governments, to preserve their trees.

While many factors still remained undefined, including how it will be funded, green groups widely lauded the accord, made as part of a modest package agreed on by more than 190 nations at an annual UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico.

“This decision converts what — up until now — have been piecemeal efforts to address deforestation into a global endeavor,” Conservation International said in a statement Saturday.

Deforestation programs are already in place, with Norway in a billion-dollar plan with Indonesia. The Cancun agreement sets standards on protection of forests, including calling on developing countries to set national plans.

Deforestation is blamed for the loss of 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of woods in the world each year — equivalent to the size of England — and around 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere when they degrade.

Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia are set to particularly benefit from the new deal, known by its acronym REDD, since they have the world’s largest tropical forests.

Many green groups have expressed concern that forest communities are protected.

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