Saving The Amazon: Brazil Pledges to cut Amazon destruction in half
A huge step was taken by the Brazilian government on Dec, 1 2008, Brazil's government has pledged to cut Amazon destruction in half. This is a huge acheivement for the environment. According to Roberto Smeraldi, head of a conservation group Friends of the Earth in Brazil, "Brazil requires less capital and technology (than rich nations) to reduce emissions; we could do better than this."
Brazil pledged Monday to cut the rate at which it was destroying its Amazon forest in half over the next decade to help combat global warming.
Setting its first such target after years of global criticism, Brazil will aim to reduce clearing of the world's largest rain forest to an annual 5,850 sq km (2,260 sq miles), by 2018, about half the recent rate.
"This plan improves Brazil's image, we'll have more moral authority internationally," Environment Minister Carlos Minc told reporters after a launching ceremony attended by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Brazil wants to become a major voice in global environmental issues and hopes the plan will help allay criticism it has done too little to fight burning and clearing by loggers, farmers and ranchers.
The reason Brazil had previously denied to adopt targets like the one taken on Dec, 1 was because richer countries which are leaders among carbon emissions offered very little help to protect tropical forests in developing countries.
The Amazon Fund
Norway has given Brazil a vote of confidence this year and pledged $1 billion to the new Amazon Fund over seven years. This new Fund aims to improve conservation and enforcement of laws against deforestation.
"We can adopt targets because we now have the instruments to implement them," said Tasso Azevedo, head of the government's Forestry Service, referring to the fund.
According to the Minc the time is now for richer countries to drop any issues with transfering technology to help Brazil reach its targets.
Last week the government said Amazon deforestation increased 3.8 percent from a year earlier to nearly 4,633 square miles (12,000 sq km) -- roughly equal to the U.S. state of Connecticut -- as high commodity prices drew farmers and ranchers to slash more trees.
It was the first rise in four years, although well down from a peak of 10,570 square miles (27,379 sq km) in 2004.
Farmers and cattle ranchers moving deeper into the Amazon in search of cheaper land are some of the main culprits.
Brazil's government this year increased policing, impounded farm products from illegally cleared land and cut financing for unregistered properties, stepping up its efforts after figures showed a spike in deforestation late last year.
The Brazilian plan to save the Amazon also included an incentive and boost to energy efficiency and the renewable fuels area where Brazil already stands as a world leader. The Brazilian Government plans to reduce taxes for fuel efficient cars, increase the use of biofuels such as Brazil's pioneering ethanol derived from sugarcane from 20.3 Billion liters per year to 52.2 Billion in ten years. It seems as though Brazil's plans are heading towards the right direction, now it is about time the for the world to get together and help save the Amazon.