Lula pledges big cuts in Amazon deforestation — after he leaves office
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
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).
(12/04/2008) 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.
(12/01/2008) Brazil will aim to cut its deforestation rate to 5,000 square kilometers (1,900 square miles) per year by 2018 under its plan to reduce emissions from forest clearing, said Environment Minister Carlos Minc. For comparison, forest loss for the August 2007-July 2008 period was 11,968 square kilometers (4,621 square miles).
(11/28/2008) Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased slightly for the August 2007-July 2008 period, reports the country’s National Institute of Space Research (INPE). The rise is the first since 2004 when 27,379 square kilometers were destroyed, but is lower than forecast. The 2008 figure is the second-lowest annual loss since 1991.