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Brazil’s Copenhagen COP15 Proposal

By Carlos Graffigna, Contributing Reporter

Image by Nasa/Creative Commons License.

RIO DE JANEIRO – As the starting date for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) drew closer, President Lula met with his advisers and three sources of Brazil’s proposal, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change; in order to define a plan and concrete proposition.

Out of that November 3rd meeting the final document for COP15 was created, a proposal which helps define if Brazil will become a future leader on the fight against pollution and global warming.

Within the proposal Brazil commits to decrease emissions of gases which cause global warming by 2020 between 36.1 percent and 38.9 percent. To achieve this goal it will be necessary to reduce deforestation by 80 percent in Amazonia.

This commitment impacts Brazil’s agricultural industry which will look for investment in recovering pastures. On the energy front there will be strong encouragement to increasingly use bio-fuels, and also strong investments in promoting and developing clean sources of energy. On a more specific item, the steel industry will begin using coal produced from reforestation projects.

The commitment has received positive reviews from almost all financial and political spheres, according to Dilma Rousseff, Ministra da Casa Civil (Ministry of Interior), the goals Brazil have set are achievable but it will require collaboration, “Brazil has capability to comply with those goals, but one part belongs to the government and the other part to the private sector.”

Eduardo Assad, a researcher at Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa), an independent entity working on agricultural issues, firmly declares “this is not a timid proposal, it is realistic, the government is putting on paper something that is possible to accomplish. If the government would have chosen to increase the percentages, there would be mass bankrupt in the sector”.

Senator Marina Silva with the vice president of the Green Party, Alfredo Sirkis, photo by Antonio Cruz/ABr.
Senator Marina Silva, Alfredo Sirkis, photo by Antonio Cruz/ABr.

But the proposal also received some criticism, mainly coming from ex-Minister of Environment, current senator and possible presidential candidate for the next general election, Marina Silva.

“We cannot limit reductions by only considering the ones coming from deforestation, this must be a global goal, it should apply to deforestation, energy, agriculture and all areas of the economy”, she adds “we cannot set a goal for the next 20 years and then pass it on to the next government without institutionalizing it, Brazil must institutionalize the proposal so future governments will undertake the compromise and make the right investments”.

There are still questions as to the source of the money to finance such plan, but there seems to be wide agreement in backing proposals such as the one presented by Mexico and Norway, calling to establish a global fund to help mitigate expenses. In any case, the government is asking citizens to also do their part by consuming responsibly and recycling.

COP15 will close its doors on December 18th, and the impact of the Brazilian proposal on internal and foreign policy will remains to be seen.

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