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Google to aid tropical rainforests

Google to aid tropical rainforests
Sir Elton John performs with a fake bird beak during his "Woody Woodpecker Song" at the 12th annual RainForest Foundation Concert held on April 21, 2004 at New York's Carnegie Hall. (UPI/Ezio Petersen) | License Photo

LONDON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- A proposed Google program would allow anyone with Internet access to spot illegal logging in tropical rainforests and report it, the company said.

The program, to be released next year, would let so-called armchair detectives report their findings to an agency monitoring whether countries were meeting their commitments to reduce deforestation, The Times of London reported Friday.

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Countries allowing illegal deforestation would lose their share of a new $30 billion global fund established to pay nations for leaving forests standing. The fund -- Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation -- is to be approved at the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, said Google executive Philipp Schindler.

Schindler spoke Thursday at a seminar on deforestation in London attended by Britain's Prince Charles and leaders of several rainforest countries, including Guyana and Brazil.

Frequently updated satellite photos in the Google program will allow comparisons with historical images and let those viewing the images spot rainforest destruction almost as soon as it happens, Schindler said.

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