Brazil Wants to Get Credits for Keeping Forests Intact

On Friday, March 24, the fifth day of the 8th Conference of the Parties to the Biological Diversity Convention (COP-8), the Brazilian Forum of NGOs and Social Movements for the Environment and Development (FBOMs) issued a document with practical suggestions on how to deal with the relationship between climate changes and forest destruction.

One of the suggestions is to include native forests, which are still untouched, in the sale of carbon credits, meant to valorize the carbon dioxide absorbed by trees. This would be beneficial to the Amazon region.

The general goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (also known as the Climate Convention or CDB) is to diminish the concentration of greenhouse gas effects in the atmosphere, for the purpose of retarding global warming.

One of the means to achieve this result is the Kyoto Protocol, which requires countries to reduce gas emissions by 5% between 2008 and 2012.

The Protocol also establishes Clean Development Mechanisms, creating a market in carbon credits. In effect, countries that exceed their emission quotas must pay for the excess gas they send into the environment. One way they can do this to finance forest recovery projects anywhere in the world.

"The Kyoto Protocol omitted native forests, ignoring their maintenance," observed Rubens Bom, coordinator of the FBOMs’ Climate Change Work Group and the NGO, Vitae Civilis.

"But deforestation is already responsible for 20% of global gas emissions. The use of fossil fuel, especially from petroleum, is the biggest cause of global warming. Moreover, maintaining the forest intact protects biodiversity and traditional cultures. It represents a fundamental environmental service, which should be compensated."

"This mechanism is important, of course. But we should also bear in mind patterns of consumption and development models," commented the director of the Institute of Amazonian Studies (IPAM), Paulo Moutinho.

"In the Brazilian Amazon we live in a state of schizophrenia: We have a fantastic plan to combat deforestation, with excellent results. But we also offer agribusiness incentives and huge infrastructure projects, which have a big environmental impact."

Marcelo Furtado, the director of Brazil Greenpeace campaigns, said that the FBOMs report represents a response to the last Conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention, which determined March 31 as the date for countries to express themselves on how they see the relationship between forest preservation governance and climatic balance.

"Since Brazil has still not presented its official report, which should occur in the next week, we hope that our report can help make the formulation of the country’s report more participatory."

The FBOMs, which include approximately 500 organizations and civil society movements, was created in 1990. The COP is the deliberative body of the CDB. It meets every two years. The meeting in Curitiba is being attended by 3,600 representatives of 173 countries. In all, the CDB has 187 signatory nations, in addition to the European Union.

Agência Brasil

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