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Opinion
Mihir Sharma

To Save the Planet, Poor Nations Need to Get Paid

Reacting with outrage when countries such as Congo decide to open up forests and peatlands to drilling is not just absurdly hypocritical, it’s impractical. 

The DRC’s forests are massive carbon sinks.

The DRC’s forests are massive carbon sinks.

Photographer: Guerchom Ndebo/AFP/Getty Images

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This week, the Democratic Republic of Congo — Africa’s second-largest nation and the sixth-most heavily forested country in the world — is auctioning off large sections of those forests to oil and gas companies. The decision has enraged climate activists: The vast tracts of equatorial forest and peatlands in the Congo River basin are one of the world’s most effective carbon sinks.