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Prevention is better than cure.
That's the underlying philosophy of a new accord signed on Sunday between Norway and Gabon, which will become the first African country paid to preserve its forests in an effort to fight climate change.
Norway - Emissions - Forestry - Minister - Lee
"Norway is committing to compensating us for reducing emissions," forestry minister Lee White told AFP in an interview in New York, ahead of a UN climate summit on Monday.
The tropical forests of the Amazon, Equatorial Africa, and Indonesia are the world's major carbon sinks. Their trees and vegetation absorb and trap carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, in colossal quantities.
International - Attention - Deforestation - Amazon - Countries
International attention is mainly focused on deforestation, such as in the Amazon, but what about countries like Gabon, a former French colony which has not succumbed to over-exploitation and is almost 90 percent covered by forest?
According to the contract, Norway will pay Gabon $10 for every ton of carbon not emitted, relative to the Central African country's annual average between 2005-2014, and up to a maximum payout of $150 million over ten years.
Logging - Emissions - Logging - French
"They will pay us because we have not deforested, and because we've managed logging responsibly, and reduced emissions linked to logging," the British and Gabonese national said, speaking in French.
Biologist White became a minister in June, having worked in Gabon for three decades as an environmental campaigner, leading National Geographic to call him a "real-life Tarzan."
Gabon - Forests - Way - White
Gabon wants to keep exploiting its forests but in a way that is sustainable, which White said is feasible.
Eighty percent of Gabon's emissions are linked to exploitation of its forests, he said.
Use - Timber - Trees - Way - Roads
Beyond their use for timber, trees are felled to make way for roads used...
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