Where Are The Market Forces When We Need Them?

More than half of the world’s forest loss between 1990 and 2010 took place in Brazil and Indonesia. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters

More than half of the world’s forest loss between 1990 and 2010 took place in Brazil and Indonesia. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters

Thanks to the Guardian‘s environment-focused reporting for this sad evidence on the state of affairs:

Subsidies to industries that cause deforestation worth 100 times more than aid to prevent it

Brazil and Indonesia paid over $40bn in subsidies to industries that drive rainforest destruction between 2009 and 2012 – compared to $346m in conservation aid they received to protect forests, according to new research

Brazil and Indonesia spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid to prevent it, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

The two countries handed out over $40bn (£27bn) in subsidies to the palm oil, timber, soy, beef and biofuels sectors between 2009 and 2012 – 126 times more than the $346m they received to preserve their rainforests from the United Nations’ (UN) REDD+ scheme, mostly from Norway and Germany.

“The fact that domestic subsidies for commodities that cause deforestation so vastly outweigh international aid seeking to prevent it shows we need a radical rethink,” Will McFarland, one of the report’s authors told the Guardian.

“By making the cost of producing these commodities cheaper, subsidies increase their profitability and make them more desirable to investors. That in turn artificially inflates their growth, and threatens the rainforests further. With subsides running at over 100 times that of forest aid, we should be urgently trying to reform this system.”

Asad Rehman, a senior international climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth compared Brazil and Indonesia to “cancer charities asking for donations whilst subsidising cigarette production at the same time”.

“Deforestation is ultimately driven by consumption demands in the North,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to tackle the businesses that are colluding in this destruction. The only real solution to this failure is empowering communities to safeguard their forests.”

More than half of the world’s forest loss between 1990 and 2010 took place in the two countries, with an average 2.7m hectares (6.7 acres) of rainforest lost in Brazil and 1.2m hectares in Indonesia.

Indonesia’s rate of forest destruction rose steeply in the last decade and may now have overtaken that of Brazil, where deforestation has declined since a peak in 2004. Between 2008 and 2012 forest clearing accounted for 61% of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and 28% of Brazil’s…

Read the whole article here.

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