WWF knocks Brazil's plan to cut Amazon deforestation
December 4, 2008

WWF criticized Brazil's plan to reduce Amazon deforestation to 5,740 square kilometers per year as being "short on ambition and detail".

In a statement issued Wednesday, WWF said that Brazil's proposed fund for conserving the Amazon would still result in the annual loss of an area forest the size of Rhode Island.

"The CO2 released from clearing this area of Amazon forest would be roughly equivalent to the current annual emissions of Canada," said Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza, Conservation Director at WWF-Brazil.

The group called for more details on how the funds would be used to prevent deforestation and said Brazil should aim for more aggressive reductions in forest clearing: net deforestation of zero by 2015.

"This goal is achievable if key actors—ranging from indigenous peoples to ranchers—are compensated for conserving the forest and thereby avoiding deforestation," Scaramuzza said.

"This fund appears to be geared primarily to supporting government command-and-control programmes," added WWF-Brazil's CEO Denise Hamú. "To achieve more ambitious reductions in deforestation, it will be effective mechanisms to compensate the key actors on the ground who determine the fate of the forest."

Brazil has proposed raising $21 billion in voluntary contributions from developed countries and corporations for its "Amazon Fund." Norway has already committed up to one billion dollars by 2015 provided Brazil meets its targets for reducing deforestation.

Brazil would like to see its proposal be used for a global model to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Under the design, payments from industrialized nations would into a pool which is then distributed to countries that demonstrate reductions in deforestation. The proposal includes two categories — countries that are ready to start and countries that need funding for capacity building. Resources for capacity building would come from institutions like the World Bank and voluntary donors in developed countries. Developed countries would not be eligible for conventional carbon credits under the arrangement. Instead they would be afforded with non-tradable "certificates".

WWF and forest carbon

WWF recently changed its position on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), a proposed mechanism for fighting climate. Until last year, the group had opposed the concept on the grounds that it would undermine the carbon market and give polluters an easy way to avoid reducing industrial emissions. WWF's support for the inclusion of forest carbon under an international framework on climate was officially unveiled by WWF president and CEO Carter Roberts at an "avoided deforestation" meeting in New York this past September.

"The Amazon, if it were a country, would be in the top seven emitters of greenhouse gases in the world," Carter said. "Unless the world has policies that recognize that value of standing trees and forests, we will have failed."

"In Kyoto, WWF was pivotal in keeping forests out. We have changed our position."

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mongabay.com (December 04, 2008).

WWF criticizes Brazil's plan to cut Amazon deforestation.