Brazil to establish huge Amazon preservation fund
May 29, 2008
Luciano Coutinho, president of the National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES), told reporters the first contribution will come from the Norwegian government. In January Norway said it would contribute $500 million per year to slow global deforestation.
Coutinho said Norway may pledge up to $200 million in the first donation to the fund.
In February the Brazilian government said it would seek up to $1 billion per year in donations from the governments of industrialized countries and corporate sources. At the time it said that contributors will not be eligible for carbon credits that may be generated by "avoiding" deforestation under a mechanism — known as REDD — ratified at climate talks in Bali last December.
The trees of the Amazon rainforest store 90-140 billion metric tons of carbon, according to calculations by scientists, but deforestation accounts for about 70 percent of Brazil's greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions primarily result from forest conversion for agricultural expansion — notably beef and soy production — in the Amazon.
Daniel Nepstad, a researcher at the Woods Hole Research Institute, estimates the cost of reducing deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon to nearly zero within a decade would be $100 million to $600 million per year under a program involving carbon credits for forest conservation (REDD). Tasso Azevedo, director of the Brazil's forestry services, estimates the country needs about $2 billion annually to stop illegal deforestation of the Amazon. It is unclear whether Azevedo's estimate accounts for income generated under a REDD framework.