California Proposal to Save Tropical Rainforests Divides Environmentalists

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Several of the fires burning in the Amazon rainforest can be seen even from space, as evidenced by this satellite image provided by NASA this month. Brazil's National Institute for Space Research said the country has seen a record number of wildfires this year. (NASA)

The California Air Resources Board is considering a controversial proposal Thursday aimed at protecting the world's tropical rainforests and combating global climate change. The proposal could allow companies to offset their emissions by sending money to fight deforestation in countries such as such as Brazil and promote sustainable industries. Backers say including tropical rainforests in the state's cap and trade program provides needed money to save the essential forests. But opponents say it's nothing more than greenwashing, allowing companies to pollute while investing in programs that are ineffective and can end up damaging forests and indigenous communities.


Steve Schwartzman, senior director, Tropical Forest Policy, Environmental Defense Fund

Katie Valenzuela, policy and political director, California Environmental Justice Alliance

Tom Goldtooth, executive director, Indigenous Environmental Network

Floriberto Vásquez Ruiz, undersecretary of climate change and biodiversity, State of Oaxaca, Mexico