(08-29) 17:34 PDT Mill Valley — Rangers patrol a dusty forest in southern Kenya, keeping a watchful eye out for poachers. Although they roam near the borders of two national parks, their salaries don’t come from the Kenyan government. They’re employees of a small Mill Valley company, Wildlife Works. And the rangers don’t just protect the local wildlife. They’re trying to protect the Earth’s climate as well. Wildlife Works sells a kind of “carbon offset,” one of the more controversial weapons in the fight against global warming. Companies concerned about climate change pay Wildlife Works to keep the forest intact, since chopping down and burning trees releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. The companies pay to keep specific amounts of carbon locked in the trees and out of the atmosphere. They then use those purchases to offset their own greenhouse gas emissions – hence the term. For the companies it’s strictly voluntary, a way of building customer goodwill by showing concern for the planet. Funds go to communities Wildlife Works uses some of the money to pay the rangers. But the majority of the cash goes to communities near the Kenyan forest. Local committees pick development projects… Read full this story
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