Lula pledges big cuts in Amazon deforestation -- after he leaves office
Rhett A. Butler,
December 12, 2008

Last week Brazil unveiled plans to cut deforestation substantially from a 1996-2005 baseline of 19,533 square kilometers per year. The announcement met a mixed response from conservationists. Some applauded the decision to set hard targets for reducing deforestation, others say the targets were too low and that the country should aim for zero net deforestation by 2015. Nevertheless as more details have emerged, it becomes clear that the onus for reining in deforestation falls on Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's successor.

The proposed targets (thanks to Jake Schmidt, International Climate Policy Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council - NRDC):
  • 2006-2009 11,400 sq. km per year (2006 through 2008 have so far averaged 12,500, suggesting that 2009 will be an ambitious year for reductions)
  • 2010-2013, 7,980 sq. km per year
  • 2014-2017, 5,586 sq. km per year

Click to enlarge
Lula leaves office on January 1, 2011. His successor will be committed to cutting forest loss 71 percent from the 1996-2005 baseline, a tall order for a country banking on the Amazon region to supply food and energy to fuel economic expansion, and a powerful agricultural lobby. Lula has laid the foundation to finance reductions through a proposed $21 billion Amazon fund to promote sustainable development and the establishment of protected areas, but it will almost certainly be a political challenge to meet these targets especially if commodity prices resume their ascent (interrupted by the recent global economic downturn).

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Rhett A. Butler, (December 12, 2008).

Lula pledges big cuts in Amazon deforestation -- after he leaves office.