Save the rainforests first! – Wealthy nations will spend about $1 billion annually could prevent the emission of roughly half a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year for the next 25 years. That money could be put to better use if it was used to prevent deforestation in the rainforests of the world, which is one of the top contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

Three different forestry and land-use models have calculated that the best use of that money would be for developed nations to participate in a program called “avoided deforestation” to reduce worldwide carbon emissions. Under such a program, wealthy nations would help achieve reduced emissions globally by paying landowners in developing nations not to cut down wide swaths of forested land to make way for agricultural uses. Tropical deforestation, the cutting and burning of trees to convert land to grow crops and raise livestock, accounts for about a fifth of all human-caused carbon emissions in the world.

Researcher Brent Sohngen says, “If we’re talking about the source of at least 20% of the world’s emissions that can be cheaply abated, then why wouldn’t we do it? If we don’t spend the money to offer these countries development assistance, they?re going to continue deforesting, so their emissions are just going to continue.”

On another part of the world, a large, 8-mile-wide piece of the Arctic ice shelf has broken off from the northern Canadian coast. Carbon dating of drift wood trapped behind the shelf shows the shelf itself has been there for at least 3,000 years.

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