Rainforests brought back to life as 'carbon trading' takes off

A A A

New forests could blossom in tropical zones from Brazil to India as one of the more creative ideas produced by the Kyoto protocol begins to bear fruit. Someone has finally hit on a way to make money out of conservation.

Behind the idea is the fact that all Kyoto signatories are required to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide, or face heavy fines - but if they cannot bring themselves to cut the emissions, they can buy "carbon credits" from countries or companies that are doing so.

The system works because greenhouse gases are a problem for the world, not merely for countries where the emissions take place. Likewise "carbon sinks", the forested areas that reduce the net quantity of global carbon emissions, can be anywhere.

As reported in The Independent yesterday, a bloc of 10 Third World countries styling themselves the Rainforest Coalition, led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, are to lobby the United Nations conference on climate control in Montreal this weekend to launch a system whereby such countries will be paid at the going carbon-credit rate for preserving their forests. At present this is $20 (£11.50) for one credit, which is the equivalent of a one-ton unit of carbon dioxide.

Not to be outdone, a newly launched London-based finance company dealing in the "new carbon economy" has raised £68m from international investors to pour into raising new forests on land that has been logged out.

Carbon Capital, founded by Edward Seyfried last year, has established eight carbon trading partnerships around the world, from Brazil to China by way of Uganda, Kenya and India. "Each of the partners is seeking to generate their own carbon credits cheaply and sell them on," Mr Seyfried said. In total, the eight projects cover 450,000 acres of land that was formerly forested.

The first project, run by a company called Carbon Positive, is getting under way in Para, Brazil:seedlings are due to be planted out in the coming weeks, during the expected wet, mild weather. Decades ago, the forest in Para was cut down and a rubber plantation, owned by one of the big American automobile companies, was put in its place. But, within a year, the rubber trees were killed off by blight and the plantation was abandoned.

After three years, the pilot project will be examined by the officials of the Kyoto protocol's Clean Development Mechanism to see if it fulfils stringent criteria. Not only must the new forest replicate the biodiversity of the original one, but 20 per cent of the land must be devoted to commercial schemes that make sense, and money, for the local people. As Mr Seyfried says: "It's no good kicking people off their land so they simply go and deforest somewhere else."

If the officials give the project a certificate, the area of new forest will be enormously expanded. Mr Seyfried says: "Commercial solutions to global problems are better than charitable ones. We are trying to arrange it so that the Brazilian squatter farmer gets as much out of these schemes as the fat, cigar-chomping London banker."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Parker says: 'I once had a taster use the phrase 'smells like the sex glands of a lemming'. Who in the world can relate to that?'
food + drinkRobert Parker's 100-point scale is a benchmark of achievement for wine-makers everywhere
News
i100
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing