Forests are valuable as carbon sinks, in that they take up a lot of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be in the atmosphere. As such, protecting forests is an important part of the world’s current strategies for keeping global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius before the end of the century.
But preserving forests, especially in developing countries, can be difficult and expensive. That’s why funding from large donors, such as Japan or Germany, is almost a requirement. Luckily, the five largest donors to climate change mitigation–Japan, Germany, Norway, France, and the United States–tend to allocate large amounts of their donations for the preservation of forest carbon sinks.
It’s not a perfect process, though. There are a number of factors that are considered by these donors when determining who gets money, and in many cases, those donations go to states with close trade relations or which are perceived as having “good governance.” Those aren’t exactly terrible reasons to choose recipients, but those states aren’t always the most in need of such funds. States with poorer governance, for example, have a harder time allocating funds towards climate change mitigation projects and may need more money and more help in order to reach their goals. There are a great many states out there that may not seem like “ideal” candidates, but that have a lot to offer to the collaborative process of climate change mitigation.
As more and more money is sunk into these projects in the coming years, it will be important to start thinking of these donations less as economic or trade investments and more as environmental investments. We need to have an eye for the global situation when preserving forests, and that means investing money in states that might not be “safe bets.” Saving the world will require some risks, after all.