Our boy, Tim, has been getting himself a bit of extra exposure in the past few days. Now the 2007 Australian of the Year, and acclaimed author of The Weather Makers, has a plan to stop the deforestation of Papua New Guinea through the miracle of the web. He has an affinity for PNG, having undertaken much of his early scientific work there, tracking down tree kangaroos. Basically he wants to see villages connected to forest life also connect to internet. He’s looking to set a direct connection between well off westerners and the onsite stewards of the trees. We buy trees from the PNG people, and they confirm the trees aren’t being logged . We get carbon credits and they get income. (And an intact supportive ecosystem, to boot.) He sees technology from the realm of satellites and Google Earth bought to bear as monitoring, to keep it all fair dinkum (genuine.) would help both parties monitor area covered under the agreement.
It is not an idea, without precedence. While the eBay like element might a new twist, Farmers in Queensland are already being paid to keep forest intact on their land, for which they have clearing rights. It's estimated that annually 20 to 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions result from clearing tropical rainforests. And a WWF conservation strategist in PNG says that less than 1 per cent of forestry in the country is currently sustainably managed. (The Australian government has set aside $200 million AUD to assist Indonesia and others in the region to help improve management and protection of tropical forests.)Tim has also been hassling the Australian federal government, who bestowed him with the aforementioned title for their position on greenhouse emissions reduction targets and carbon costs per tonne. Tim reckons it needs to be set at about $40 and $70 AUD per tonne of carbon emitted, to be effective. "If it's $70 a tonne we'll probably (avoid) dramatic change," he said. He goes on further, "To stay below the dangerous threshold we'll basically have to decarbonise (in the next 40 years)." Which would require Australia sourcing 80% of its energy from renewable sources - like wind, solar and geothermal - by 2050.