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SCIENCE

This week : Trees to the rescue, sucking up CO2 forests fight climate change

Text by Eve IRVINE

Latest update : 2009-06-29

ENVIRONMENT spends the night in the forest. Trees are a natural defense against climate change and the product used in most furniture. Know which to chose, and why Ecuadorians are taking Chevron to court.

Deforestation is responsible for one fifth of the world's greenhouse gases, yet around 30 million acres of forest are destroyed every year. Systems to reduce this source of warming are playing a big part in talks on the run up to Copenhagen. The Kyoto protocol didn't allow carbon trade offs to countries who paid to conserve trees, and there is now pressure to change this.

In Ecuador 30 thousand people there are suing Chevron for 27 billion dollars. It is the biggest environmental lawsuit in history. Indigenous Ecuadorians say that when the oil company Texaco operated there from 1972 to 1992, it dumped billions of barrels of oil and and waste throughout this once pristine terrain.

Texaco was bought out by Chevron in 2002. That company's now fighting a 27 billion dollar clean-up bill.
Chevron admits the areas where Texaco operated are polluted.  But it says an agreement Texaco made with the Ecuadorian government in 1998 absolves it of all responsibility. A verdict should be reached in the fall.

And after all that talk about forests, ENVIRONMENT helps you chose the right wood when you go shopping for your furniture. Pick species that aren't over-harvested and give perferance to those types found locally.

 

 

Date created : 2009-06-29

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