The World Bank has launched a multi-million dollar climate change fund aimed at encouraging poor, developing nations to conserve their tropical rain forests.
The new program was announced Tuesday during a U.N.-sponsored climate change conference in Bali, Indonesia.
The initiative will give some 20 countries grants to fund projects aimed at discouraging illegal logging and forest clearance for agriculture.
It will also pay developing countries to protect and replant tropical forests. Trees absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide as they grow, but release it into the atmosphere when they are cut down or burned. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas blamed for climate change.
The World Bank says several wealthy countries have contributed $160 million to the program.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that deforestation, or the cutting down of forests, contributes to a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. Another U.N. report puts that at more than all the world's cars, trucks, trains and airplanes combined.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.