Sen. Marina Silva and Gov. Serra Want Brazil to Pitch in on Climate Global Fund

Brazilian senator Marina Silva Brazilian senator and former Environment minister, Marina Silva, and São Paulo Governor José Serra, defended the idea today, December 14, in Copenhagen, during the 15th UN Conference on Climate Change, that Brazil should contribute resources to the global fund that is supposed to help poorer countries tackle global warming.

The original idea was that the fund would maintained with money from developed countries, which have historically emitted more greenhouse gases, but the inclusion of emerging countries among lenders entered the agenda for discussion at the COP-15.

"I think that a country that was proactive coming here with a voluntary target of reducing emissions, may well continue this proactive action, putting an effort into the basket. Brazil can help to untie this game," said Marina Silva. For the senator and likely presidential candidate in 2010, Brazil can contribute at least 1 billion Brazilian reais (US$ 571 million) to the fund.

Serra also believes that Brazil is capable of contributing that amount and considers it more like a symbolic value in order to pressure rich nations to cooperate. "If Brazil, which is a developing country, is willing to do it, this will no doubt increase political pressure on the developed world," the governor said.

The head of the Brazilian delegation in Copenhagen, Minister Dilma Rousseff, the president's chief of staff, does not agree that developing countries should contribute to the global fund.

At a news conference yesterday Rousseff, argued that the rich countries have the obligation to finance activities for global warming mitigation, so Brazil is not willing to put any money in the fund.

The minister made it clear that the responsibility for the planet's climate is a task to be shared by all, but the burden must be differentiated taking into account mainly the GDP per capita and the amount of CO2 already emitted.

Developing countries, she argues, have per capita emissions and CO2 production much lower than that of developed countries. Consequently the richer nations are the ones that need to reduce emissions. Moreover, developed countries have to pay the costs of financing future mitigation actions in developing countries.

There are two "tracks" of negotiations, said Rousseff, fundamental to the success of Copenhagen meeting. The Kyoto Protocol track requires a mandatory reduction of emissions by developed nations and a voluntary one by the developing countries. On the other hand, the long-term Climate Convention track, should provide funds for the poorest countries to develop without polluting.

The Brazilian position, the minister said, is clear: to take serious voluntary actions like significantly reducing Amazon deforestation, having a sustainable production of biodiesel and energy production through clean sources such as hydropower, and having its own funds, as the Amazon one and the newly created Climate Change fund, to develop future actions for mitigation and environmental protection.

Rousseff doesn't buy the argument that rich and poor should pay equally for cleaning up the planet: "I feel this as a reversal of responsibility. Say how much you (developed countries) will put (at the fund), the responsibility is yours. To admit that developed and developing countries have the same treatment is a scandal," said the minister.

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