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G8 summit: Opportunity for immediate action on climate change
Date:7/2/2008

Arlington, Virginia (July 2, 2008) Led by a bold commitment from Germany, leaders of the world's industrial powers have the opportunity at the upcoming G8 Summit in Japan to take immediate and substantive action against climate change.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent pledge of 500 million Euros over four years to conserve tropical forests, followed by increased annual spending on forest protection, starts to address a major source of greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. As Chancellor Merkel notes, tropical forests are home to biological diversity and healthy ecosystems that strengthen Earth's resilience to global warming and help people adapt to the changing climate.

The burning and clearing of tropical forests contributes 20 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions more than all the world's cars, trucks and airplanes combined. Emissions from deforestation, rather than industrial discharges, make developing countries Brazil and Indonesia two of the world's top four greenhouse gas polluters.

However, less than 1 percent of current investments in the global carbon market created by the Kyoto Protocol target forest-related solutions. Germany's G8 partners the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and Russia can help correct that imbalance by making pledges similar to Merkel's and promoting forest conservation as an important and viable way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"Halting deforestation is an immediate and cost-effective way to cut greenhouse gas emissions," said Peter Seligmann, the chairman and CEO of Conservation International (CI). "Solutions for climate change that don't include the conservation of carbon sinks such as tropical forests and oceans will fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to prevent catastrophic impacts from rising global temperatures."

Tropical forests are home to more than half the species on Earth and harbor vital resources such as fre
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Contact: Tom Cohen
tcohen@conservation.org
703-341-2729
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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