That’s what Time magazine said earlier this year:
Guyanese president Bharrat Jagdeo leads a poor country with a priceless resource: 40 million acres (16 million ha) of largely untouched rain forest. Logging firms are keen to cut it down, but Jagdeo, an economist and former Finance Minister, is seeking what he regards as a better business proposal: he wants international donors and investors to pay for the increasingly tangible benefits of keeping the rain forest intact.
“If we’re serious about global warming and its consequences,” says Jagdeo, “then the market has to address all the sources of greenhouse emissions.”
Deforestation is a major source, accounting for 20% of human-generated greenhouse gases. Still, Jagdeo raised eyebrows last year when he announced that Guyana would offer its entire rain forest, which covers 75% of the country’s territory, as a sustainable commodity. The idea is that public and private organizations would pay Guyana for the right to manage — and profit from — unscathed rain forests. They can sell the carbon credits on global markets, make money from ecotourism and pharmaceutical discoveries, and eventually create markets for “ecosystem services” such as rainfall generation and climate regulation.