Brazil says no to rainforest privatization plan, asks Gore for help
October 18, 2006

On Tuesday Brazil rejected a alleged British proposal to fight climate change by "privatizing" parts of the Amazon rainforest, according to Reuters.

In an editorial published on the opinion page of Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, Environment Minister Marina Silva and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said that the Amazon was "not for sale". Their comments were expected since Brazil has long objected to internationalization of the Amazon, seeing such attempts as a threat to its sovereignty.

The "Amazon privatization" report, which originally appeared in Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper on October 1, 2006, said that David Miliband, Britain's Environment Secretary, planned to propose an initiative that would turn parts of the Amazon into an "international trust" wherein credible buyers could lockup parts of the rainforest for preservation. However, shortly after the article was published, Miliband's office strongly rejected the story.

DEFORESTATION IN BRAZIL: 60-70 percent of deforestation in the Amazon results from cattle ranches while the rest mostly results from small-scale subsistence agriculture. Logging results in forest degradation but rarely direct deforestation. However, studies have showed a close correlation between logging and future clearing for settlement and farming.

"This UK Government does not support nor promote the purchase of Amazon Rainforest," said Andrew Morrissy, an official from Miliband's office, in an email exchange with "The interest of the UK Government is to work with Brazil to support sustainable forestry management."

"The UK is keen to work in partnership with Brazil to explore ways of mobilizing international resources to assist developing countries in sustainable forestry management," said Miliband in a statement issued October 4, 2006. "The Brazilian Government reaffirmed their commitment towards international cooperation on deforestation in full respect for Brazilian Sovereignty."

Miliband added that the two countries would further explore the role of sustainable development in fighting climate change at the "Working Group on Climate Change" in Nairobi, Kenya next month.

In their editorial, the ministers said that at the upcoming Nairobi meeting Brazil will propose the creation of a global rainforest fund that would compensate developing countries for reducing deforestation rates. In plan, modeled after an initiative by a coalition of developing countries led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, could help cut greenhouse gas emissions that result from forest clearing and conversion, a source for about 20 percent of such heat-trapping emissions. The ministers also asked former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who was in Sao Paulo promoting the Portuguese-language version of his new "An Inconvenient Truth" book on climate change, to support the plan.

Brazil has the world's highest annual loss of tropical forest, though Amazon deforestation has fallen significantly since 2004 when more than 26,000 square kilometers (10,000 square miles) of forest were cleared. This year forest loss is expected to be around 16,700 square kilometers according to figures released by the government last month. Falling commodity prices and rainforest conservation efforts are cited for the slowdown.

More on deforestation in the Amazon | Other news on the Amazon in Brazil

CITATION: (October 18, 2006).

Brazil says no to rainforest privatization plan, asks Gore for help.