Brazil in Reverse

9 December 2010

Brazil seems to be its own worst enemy. Not only did President Lula publicly state last week that the negotiations in Cancun won´t go anywhere, the Brazilian legislature is on the verge of delivering a fatal blow to real hope for future emissions reductions.  Brazil’s remarkable recent accomplishments could well be stopped cold.
The annual emissions of CO2eq in Brazil in all economic sectors is on the order of 2 Gt.  In 2010, Brazil announced another record for emissions reduction, to applause from ECO and the world. Brazil’s deforestation rate fell to another record low, with Amazon deforestation down from over 27,000 km2 in 2004 to below 6,500 km2 this year.
And yet the Brazilian House of Representatives is ready to approve a new forest code that will be the most shameful endorsement of anthropogenic global warming in recent history. And it seems that some 370 of the 513 Representatives are ready to approve this leap backwards.
The bill provides amnesty to illegal deforestation and degradation, it reduces the preservation area along rivers, and eliminates the need for legal reserves for rural properties of a certain size and a discount for larger properties.
When Brazil associated itself with the Copenhagen Accord, its commitment was to reduce emissions by 36.1% to 38.9%, the latter being about 1 Gt of CO2eq.
However, a recent study coordinated by a group of respected NGOs in Brazil, including Fundação Boticário, WWF-Brazil, TNC–Brazil, IMAZON, SPVS and Conservation International, demonstrates that just two of the many changes in the proposed forest code will massively increase Brazil´s total national emissions as well as reduce its carbon 
And so all of a sudden, all Brazilian forests are again at risk. In this case, the primary cause is a direct consequence of human 
activity – a vote.
The world was thrilled and energized by Brazil’s amazing accomplishments in reducing forest degradation. Now it is our responsibility to say that turning back on this grand achievement is simply wrong.

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