Leading Article: The Real Cost of Conservation ; THE ENVIRONMENT
A group of developing countries will submit an innovative proposal to the UN conference on climate change when it opens in Montreal today. Led by Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea, they will ask rich countries to pay them not to destroy their rain forests.
Their initiative is a welcome attempt to apply new thinking to a longstanding conundrum. Developed countries regularly express consternation about the acreage of rainforest lost to logging and farming. They argue, rightly, that rainforest depletion jeopardises the absorption of greenhouse gases and risks speeding up global warming.
For rich countries to condemn poorer countries for cutting down their trees, however, is widely resented by the people of those countries " and with good reason. Tropical hardwoods fetch good prices. Why should the people who live in these regions not capitalise on what is often their only saleable commodity? And, when the trees are gone, why should they not raise their living standards further by growing crops on the land or accepting investment for industrial production? The fact that these regions are often populated by the very poorest of indigenous peoples only makes the argument more compelling.
A common view in these countries is that preaching conservation for the greater global good overlooks their …
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Publication information: Article title: Leading Article: The Real Cost of Conservation ; THE ENVIRONMENT. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: November 28, 2005. Page number: 30. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.