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Brazil pledges to restrain emissions growth

In a move that some observers say could provide a path forward on a future climate agreement that includes emissions cuts in developing countries, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said his country will aim to reduce emissions 14 to 19 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Roughly half the reduction would come from slowing Amazon deforestation, which accounts for more than sixty percent of Brazil’s CO2 emissions. The rest would come from improved energy efficiency in construction, farming, and industry. Brazil will also continue to rely heavily on sugar cane ethanol, which has been shown to have the best energy balance relative to other biofiels that are presently produced at scale.

Brazil estimates that its emissions target for 2020 represents a 36-39 percent reduction relative to forecast growth.

Carlos Minc, Brazil’s Environment Minister, noted that the emissions cut is voluntary, since developing countries have no legal commitment to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. He said that the move could influence other countries to pledge CO2 reductions.

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