Touch Wood

07 Nov 2006

Speaking in Kenya at the 12th round of UN global climate talks since 1992, the Brazilian secretary of forests and biodiversity, Joao Paulo Capobianco, has announced that his country, home to the world’s largest rainforest, will ask wealthy nations to support a plan to help it slow down deforestation.

Under the plan, the first to include deforestation in global climate agreements to cut emissions of carbon, rich nations will be asked to contribute money to a fund accessible to developing countries that can prove they have slowed initial deforestation rates.

‘When deforestation comes up, people in America, England, France and Italy take to the streets and protest because Brazil is cutting down the rainforest,’ said Capobianco. ‘The question isn’t why would they invest money in this. The question is why wouldn’t they?’

‘A country will only have the right to claim resources after the environmental benefit is delivered,’ he said in an interview.

In 2005, enough trees were cut down in Brazil to cover the whole of Israel. About a fifth of Brazil’s Amazon, an area twice the size of Germany, has been cleared to date, largely to produce timber, graze cattle and grow crops such as rice and soy.

The goal of the meeting in Kenya is to start drawing up an extension to the Kyoto Protocol, a 1999 treaty that established mandatory targets for most rich nations to cut carbon emissions.

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