Brazil proposed a new global fund to pay countries to keep their tropical forests intact, at the COP28 climate talks in Dubai on Friday.
The proposal called for the creation of a massive global scheme to help preserve rainforests in scores of countries, called the "Tropical Forests Forever" fund.
The concept would pay residents and landowners who help preserve forested areas like the Amazon. According to the proposal, financing would initially be raised from sovereign wealth funds, as well as other investors such as the oil industry.
Rather than calculating their value in terms of carbon, biodiversity or environmental services, the proposed fund would assess forests based on their area, making it much easier to implement.
"For each hectare preserved for a year, an amount would be paid. And for each hectare cleared, there would be a deduction of 100 times that amount," said Tasso Azevedo, who helped draw up the idea, when explaining how it could work.
"It's not just about carbon. Tropical forests provide essential services, such as cooling the planet by 1 degree Celsius," said Azevedo, who also founded MapBiomas, which monitors land use to promote conservation.
'A very creative proposal'
Brazilian officials said current funding mechanisms do not protect forests that are not deemed to be at risk. Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva said current policies only dissuade loggers from continued deforestation, but don't reward those who protect the forest.
"It's a very creative proposal. We want to create conditions for developed countries to protect the forest without it being charity. They will get a return," said Silva at COP28.
Protecting Brazil's Amazon rainforest, one tree at a time
Mauricio Bianco, vice president of Conservation International Brazil, welcomed the possibility of a new funding mechanism for rainforests, especially one driven by forest nations.
"It's tackling the climate crisis, it's tackling the major loss of biodiversity, and it's also tackling the social and economic development of the people that live there," Bianco told DW.
"It sends a clear message to the world that these countries are concerned about protecting the forest." He warned that such a fund would have to support Indigenous populations and grassroots organizations that are key to protecting forests.
But it's still uncertain how much support Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva can muster from wealthier nations to fund such a project.