Wealthy Countries Should Pay 'Rainforest Utility Bills' for Ecosystem Services Rendered: Prince Charles


Amazon deforestation photo: Daniele Gidiski

In a speech in Jakarta, Indonesia on Monday, Prince Charles called rainforests the "world's greatest public utility" and said that in order to preserve what rainforest remains and prevent further destruction, wealthy nations should pay an annual "utility bill" to account for all the ecosystem services which rainforests provide.

The idea of finally acknowledging in a concrete way the services provided by intact ecosystems is a crucial one. The prince described how such a system could work:Payments Should Have Characteristics of Commercial Transaction

The rest of us have to start paying for [the services rainforest provide], just as we do for water, gas and electricity.

Payments should have the characteristics of a commercial transaction, in the same way we pay for our water, gas and electricity.

In return the rainforest nations would provide eco-services such as carbon storage, fresh water and the protection of biodiversity.

The prince expressed that nations should be paid to protect their forests, as an alternative to much current practice where forests are cleared for international commodities such as beef, palm oil, soybeans and timber.

International Agency Would Issue Bonds

I hope that ... the large part of the required funding could be provided by the private sector by subscribing to long-term bonds issued by an international agency.

The issuing entity would pay the proceeds from the bonds to the rainforest nations. They in turn would use the money to re-orientate their economies to halt or refrain from deforestation.

Obviously, some sort of third-party verified monitoring system would have to be in place for a system to be truly transparent and effective, but I think Prince Charles' plan is eminently sound in theory. Now translating this into practice is the harder part.

Read more: the full text of Prince Charles' speech in Jakarta.

via: BBC News
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Tags: Conservation | Deforestation | Economics

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