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World needs better system to preserve rainforests

April 2023
The world needs better economic incentives to boost rainforest preservation in the fight against climate change.

Market forces, iow prices set by supply and demand, make deforestation profitable for a few individuals at the expense of everyone on Earth.

Clearing a hectare of the Amazon causes $25,000 worth of harm to everyone, reports The Economist. For an individual, though, it makes sense to destroy a hectare of forest because they can get $1,200 for it.

Governments around the world could pay individuals to preserve the forest instead of destroy it. One challenge with that is determining who exactly owns each piece of rainforest land and should get paid.

Rainforests are huge - the Amazon is twice the size of India - and usually located in countries with weak legal systems. That increases the difficulty of enforcing measures to preserve them.

But progress is possible. The rate of deforestation has slowed down in some countries, including Indonesia, and some governments are doing more to stop forest destruction.

so what?
Rainforests play a key role in creating and maintaining prosperous climate conditions for humans.

The destruction of rainforests accelerates the change that’s making Earth’s climate more unpredictable and extreme. That, in turn, is making living conditions more uncomfortable and expensive.

Reference shelf:
The biggest obstacle to saving rainforests is lawlessness (The Economist)

EU lawmakers back ban on goods linked to deforestation (Reuters)

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