Germany's millions to help curb carbon through 2015
This week Central America and the Dominican Republic launched a new plan backed by Germany to combat climate change in the region.
The program known as REDD, for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, kicks off thanks to a €12 million (about $15 million) donation through Germany's state aid agency GTZ, according to GTZ specialist Laszlo Pancel.
The initiative will benefit Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic, all members of the Central American Commission on Environment and Development.
According to GTZ, the plan runs through September 2015 and seeks to offset carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions that result from cutting down trees.
Scientists believe forests are vital for keeping a clamp on climate change. They act as natural “carbon sinks,” storing carbon and constantly removing CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Deforestation, however, pumps the carbon stored in trees back into the atmosphere.
REDD advocates quietly celebrated a recent finding: the global pace of deforestation slowed for the first time on record, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Juan Daniel Alemán, secretary general of the Central American Integration System, said the region “generates a minimal proportion of global green houses gases, but it is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change for geographic reasons.”