The Solution to Climate Change that has Nothing to do With Cars or Coal

At the base of a towering, 150-foot-high angelim tree, the scattered sloth claws and clumps of fur are a dead giveaway.

The tree contains the nest of a harpy eagle, a bird so powerful it kills monkeys and sloths by tearing them from the trees with its enormous claws. Its presence is a good sign to the scientists who are studying the surrounding forest.

It means this section of trees and its vast network of life are still healthy enough to support such a high-order predator. And that, in turn, is at least a small bit of good news for the Earth’s climate.

Of all the components of the recent Paris accord on climate change, the one that probably got the least attention but could have the most immediate potential involves the world’s forests. In a section some hailed as historic, the document endorsed a United Nations mechanism for wealthier nations to pay developing countries like Brazil for reducing deforestation.