Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Ban Ki-Moon - Amazon - AFP
UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon in Amazônia -- Photo Agence France-Presse

UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon just spent several days of fact-finding in Brazil. He visited an ethanol installation in Ribeirao Preto and then traveled on to the Amazon.

"Some fear that land currently used to grow food will instead be turned over to fuel," Ban said in a news release issued from New York. "Others worry that forests will be cut down to make way for biomass plantations. Still more worry about the effects on the environment and biodiversity." "Brazil is the quiet green giant. It leads the world in renewable energy," Ban said. UPI

Then he traveled with Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva into the Amazon basin near Belem, where he made a strong commitment to helping Brazil in its conservation efforts.

All this is preparation for the fact that the Kyoto treaty will soon be re-negotiated. What is at issue is whether or not carbon credits will be given to rainforest countries to compensate them for reducing deforestation. At present, Brazil receives no economic benefit from its recent massive conservation efforts. Changing the Kyoto formula is essential for making it possible for rainforest countries to choose a better balance between development and conservation.

The need to alter the Kyoto formula is discussed in a depth interview with Dr. Daniel Nepstad located at Mongabay

Under a widely supported international initiative, Brazil and other tropical forest countries may see compensation for measures to reduce deforestation that would otherwise occur. While Brazil has moved slowly on the concept, there is a real possibility that industrialized countries will support what has been termed the "Reducing Emissions from Deforestation" (RED) initiative.

Nepstad believes that if adopted, RED could trigger the largest flow of money into tropical forest conservation that the world has ever seen. Besides climate benefits, the plan would help maintain critical ecosystem services while safeguarding biological diversity.

This is clearly a big part of the solution.

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