A recent project provided financial incentives for forest owners in Uganda to keep their forest intact, a well known type of conservation policy called payments for ecosystem services (PES). What is less known is if these policies do actually work and what is their efficiency in terms of CO2 abatement per dollar spent.

An article published on Science and quoted by Vox, show very interesting results: the researchers find that this PES programme led to a large reduction in deforestation with the rate of tree loss cut roughly by half.

Furthermore, by using the social cost of carbon, the researchers find that the PES programme benefit is 2.4 times as large as the programme costs. If compared to many other CO2 mitigation policies – for instance in the US where hybrid and electric car subsidies cost 4 to 24 times the CO2 benefits they generate – this PES programme shows dramatic competitiveness. After all, one tonne of CO2 cut down in America or in Africa is equally beneficial for our endangered climate.