Senate Version of US Climate Bill Cuts Funding for Forest Projects, Environmentalists Say

The U.S. will cut funding for tropical forest conservation projects under the climate bill introduced in the U.S. Senate, a group of environmentalists and power utility companies said.

The group said the projects cut were inexpensive means to reduce pollution and keep U.S. electricity bills affordable, Reuters reports.

“Unfortunately the Kerry-Lieberman bill … cuts the heart out of some of the most positive features of the bill that passed the House,” said Douglas Boucher, chairman of the Tropical Forest and Climate Coalition, as quoted by Reuters.

The bill introduced by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) cut a provision included in the House version of the bill that allocates money to programs aimed at reducing deforestation in poor countries. Analysts estimated that the measure could raise up to USD5 billion for projects in Indonesia, Brazil and other developing countries, Reuters says.

Public funding could help attract more investments for forest projects by making these projects mainstream, supporters of the deleted measure said.

“By making some modest changes, (the bill) could send a much more powerful and less ambiguous signal to those around the world who are waiting to see whether U.S. policy will follow through on its promise to support REDD efforts,” according to Eric Haxthausen, the director of U.S. climate policy at The Nature Conservancy.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.