COPENHAGEN, NORWAY — According to The New York Times, negotiators have neared a deal that would allow countries to receive compensation for preserving forests.

The new program — Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) — proposed at the climate talks, provides a system through which countries can be paid for conserving disappearing natural assets based on their contribution to reducing emissions. Details still being ironed out include the rights of indigenous people living on forestland and what is defined as a forest.

“It is likely to be the most concrete thing that comes out of Copenhagen — and it is a very big thing,” said Fred Krupp, head of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Incentives for poor countries include a new income stream and richer countries will be attracted to the carbon credits that can be used to cancel out, in part, their industrial emissions under a carbon trading system, like the cap-and-trade plan introduced in the U.S. Congress. Under Congress’ proposed plan companies that cannot meet their greenhouse gas pollution limit could buy extra permits by investing in carbon-reduction programs abroad and a system like REDD could qualify.

Advocates also want to include northern forest stocks in this new program. “We’re not sure in Copenhagen there will be a definitive mechanism for monetizing forests, but if there is we think all forests should be included,” said Steve Kallick, director of the Boreal Conservation Pew Environment Group.

A final agreement is expected to be announced at the end of the week when world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, arrive at the conference.

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