Using Money to Encourage Conservation

One of the stumbling blocks to fighting climate change has been the threat to a country’s economy. Even when governments admit that changes need to be made in order to address environmental concerns, they often say they cannot be undertaken because of job loss. This is frustrating, though still preferable to the cement-headed response offered by the current administration in the White House, which refuses to even admit that there is a problem and clings to outdated answers like coal.

However, the Norwegian government is trying a new approach to get Brazil to improve their efforts in the fight against deforestation. Norway is one of the contributors to the Amazon Fund, which helps provide a financial incentive to slow down the cutting of trees in this key area of the world.

However, according the Norwegian government, things have not only not improved in Brazil, but the number of trees being harvested is actually on the rise. In fact, it is reportedly at its highest rate since 2008. This not only robs the planet of much-needed trees to cleanse the air, it continues to impinge on the rights of Brazil’s natives, whose tribal lands are being taken from them and deforested.

To try and right this wrong, Norway has warned Brazil that its financial contributions to the fund are based on results and will be altered as needed. In this case, they plan to give less than the usual $1 billion per year and threaten to continue lowering the payments unless things change for the better.

This seems like a solid strategy. The money is there to help governments offset the costs of reduced deforestation; if this is not occurring at a desirable rate, why should they be rewarded for their efforts?

Let’s hope other countries take notice of this approach and step up.