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Papua New Guinea has proposed that rainforest protection be added to measures to combat global warming. The call came this week at an international meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany.

Earlier this year a carbon emissions trading scheme was launched in Europe. It allows countries to be compensated for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Papua New Guinea wants nations to be similarly compensated for reducing carbon emissions by protecting their forests.

The nation's rainforest is the third largest in the world after those of the Amazon and the Congo basins. If its proposal is accepted, Papua New Guinea could become a major player in the global carbon trading market.

The Papua New Guinean representative at the Bonn meeting, Robert Aisi, said that if aims to limit global warming are to succeed, forestry must be included in the equation.

Trees absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide, a gas that causes climate change. Cutting trees down reduces the global 'carbon sink'; moreover, when forests are burnt more greenhouse gases are emitted. It has been estimated that rainforest destruction accounts for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions.

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