Despite backing from the majority of the G8 nations currently meeting in Derby, UK, the United States is opposing a British proposal calling on industrialized nations to combat illegal logging in the world’s threatened rainforests by banning the purchase of timber harvested in unsustainable manners.
U.S. opposition to the proposal came to light via a leaked State Department memo stating concerns that without participation by fast-growing developing nations, the plan was doomed to failure in the face of building booms across China, India and elsewhere.
British officials came up with the controversial plan at the prompting of Indonesia, where corruption is so rampant that authorities are unable to stop gangs of poachers from logging in protected rainforest lands. The UK’s delegates to the G8 meeting say that the U.S. is merely interested in keeping the price of timber down for the benefit of American companies.
“This is outrageous,” says Faith Doherty of the UK’s Environmental Investigation Agency. “U.S. business simply doesn’t want any restrictions on its own practices.” Whereas the U.S. claims that restricting timber purchases would be ineffective without the participation of developing countries, Doherty and other proponents say the success or failure of the proposal, much like the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, hinges more on American participation.