Deforestation releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, so how about paying people to keep trees standing? A pilot project in Brazil has paid families to do just that, and aroused the interest of world leaders who plan to negotiate a climate deal in Copenhagen in December, the Economist reports. But analysts fear that wealthy countries, who would foot the bill, may use the plan to pass off climate-saving concerns to the developing world.
There are other problems. Nations that have already curbed deforestation, like Costa Rica, would not benefit from such a scheme. Certain investors and companies would, however, which rankles some critics. But the plan has already attracted about $800 million from countries around the world, and could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 18%—more than eliminating all the world's vehicles in one fell swoop.