Holy smoke: saving the rainforests

June 19, 2017
The Economist

Religious leaders gather in Oslo today along with indigenous peoples’ representatives and climate activists for a save-the-planet pow-wow convened by Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative. The summit is the first to bring together faith leaders and native communities at such a high level. It also frames saving the rainforests—still disappearing at a rate of 6,000 acres per hour—as a moral imperative rather than just a climate or conservation worry. Though Norway is increasingly secular, environmentalism is on the rise. Its government has invested almost $3bn over the past decade to reduce deforestation. But this largesse is only made possible by Norway’s oil wealth. The environment minister, Vidar Helgesen, will today demand a “tectonic shift in values”. With a record number of wells being drilled in the Barents Sea this year he might also consider the morality of drilling in the fragile Arctic.