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Politics & press news – Embassy 10 – Jul/Aug 2008

'Pay poor states to save forests'

The Prince of Wales has urged rich nations to pay developing countries to preserve their rainforests.

Speaking at a conference on climate change hosted by the Commonwealth Foundation, Prince Charles said: “We have to pay those countries who are the air-conditioning systems of the world.”

He added that deforestation contributed to 20% of emissions – more than that created by the entire transportation sector.

The Prince said forests were natural carbon storage systems, and added that largescale coordinated reforestation projects could “buy time” for scientists to make a breakthrough discovery on clean technologies.

He added that Africa had great potential in agriculture, but warned against “repeating the mistakes” of the green revolution of the 1960s which saw widespread use of fertilisers which the Prince said had not only been damaging to the soil, but were also petroleum by-products.

Diplomats from the 53-nation group attended, many of whom represented micro-states and island states at grave risk of disappearing under the rising oceans if global warming is not slowed.

Dominating the discussion was how the Commonwealth should begin to prepare policies for the 125 million potential climate refugees who could be forced from their homes with their livelihoods destroyed.
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