Brazil and the United States have signed an agreement to worth together to reduce deforestation as part of an effort to slow climate change.
The memorandum of understanding signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Brasilia last Wednesday comes as talks on REDD, a proposed climate change mitigation mechanism that would pay tropical countries for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation, move forward despite the lack of a formal climate treaty.
Under the MOU, Brazil and the United States will establish a Climate Change Policy Dialogue, which will meet at least once a year to work towards developing and implementing pragmatic solutions and policies for reducing emissions, including carbon markets; coordinating “joint efforts on research, development, deployment and dissemination of technologies for combating climate change;” and capacity-building in sectors related to climate change.
The agreement is significant because the two countries have been somewhat at odds over how a scheme to reduce emissions from deforestation would work. In the early stages, Brazil balked at the prospect of allowing rich, industrialized countries off the hook via REDD without reducing their own emissions, instead proposing an aid-based approach embodied in the $21 billion Amazon Fund, which was announced in 2008.
“Brazil is not interested in giving industrialized countries cheap carbon credits from protecting the Amazon if they are not going to stop building coal-fired power plants,” William Boyd, a professor of law at the University of Colorado who has worked extensively on REDD policy issues, told mongabay.com last year.
Both countries have since moderated their stance, with Brazil signaling it would be open to some offsetting provided the United States and Europe agree to substantial reductions in their own industrial emissions.
The U.S. has also been in talks with Indonesia, the world’s second largest deforester and biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions from land use change, about REDD strategies and implementation.
(06/02/2009) Accounting for roughly half of tropical deforestation between 2000 and 2005, Brazil is the most important supply-side player when it comes to developing a climate framework that includes reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). But Brazil’s position on REDD contrasts with proposals put forth by other tropical forest countries, including the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, a negotiating block of 15 countries. Instead of advocating a market-based approach to REDD, where credits generated from forest conservation would be traded between countries, Brazil is calling for a giant fund financed with donations from industrialized nations. Contributors would not be eligible for carbon credits that could be used to meet emission reduction obligations under a binding climate treaty.
(06/01/2009) Brazil accounts for nearly three-quarters of land protected in conservation areas established since 2003, according to a new study published in the Biological Conservation.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC OF BRAZIL AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ON COOPERATION REGARDING CLIMATE CHANGE
The Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil
The Government of the United States of America
(hereinafter referred to as “the Participants”),
Conscious that climate change is one of the gravest challenges faced by the international community,
Reaffirming that both countries will continue to promote the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),
Affirming that the Copenhagen Accord was a significant step forward in addressing key issues for tackling the global challenge of climate change and that both countries reaffirm their political commitments contained therein,
Determined to unite efforts to achieve these goals, effectively face climate change and its adverse effects and achieve low-carbon development goals,
Willing to promote the establishment of a bilateral platform for cooperation and, at the same time, to contribute to a robust multilateral response to that problem,
Have reached the following understanding:
The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding is to strengthen and coordinate the efforts of the Participants to effectively face climate change, in the context of sustainable low-carbon economic growth.
Under this MOU, the Participants decide to cooperate in areas related to capacity-building, research, development, deployment and dissemination of technologies to address climate change and its adverse effects. Our two countries are already engaged in substantial collaborative work in such areas as energy efficiency, renewable energy, including bioenergy and biofuels, and carbon capture and storage, under both the 2003 MOU for the Establishment of a Mechanism for Consultations on Energy Cooperation, between the U.S. Department of Energy and Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, and the 2007 MOU to Advance Cooperation on Biofuels between the U.S. Department of State and Brazil’s Ministry of External Relations. That collaborative work would continue, and new areas of cooperation would be added, including, but not limited to, the following areas: reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+); and low-carbon development.
The Participants decide to establish a Climate Change Policy Dialogue, which will complement and strengthen existing areas of cooperation. To this end the Participants will meet at least once a year, alternatively in each country, with the purpose of working together, inter alia:
1. for the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and to build on the understandings of the Copenhagen Accord as quickly as possible;
2. to exchange experiences on strategies and domestic policies, including carbon markets, to address climate change;
3. on pragmatic solutions for reducing emissions;
4. on joint efforts on research, development, deployment and dissemination of technologies for combating climate change;
5. on adaptation to climate change;
6. to cooperate on climate change scientific research; and
7. on capacity-building in sectors related to climate change.
The Participants, coordinating with other relevant agencies, designate respectively, the Ministry of External Relations of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Department of State of the United States of America as the focal points for the present Memorandum of Understanding and as co-chairs of the Climate Change Policy Dialogue.
This Memorandum of Understanding and its activities are subject to the laws and regulations of the Participants. It is not intended to create any rights or obligations under domestic or international law.
This Memorandum of Understanding takes effect upon signature and is to remain in effect for 10 years. It may be renewed if the Participants so decide, through diplomatic channels.
This Memorandum of Understanding may be cancelled by either Participant, through written notice to the other Participant, through diplomatic channels.
Signed at Brasilia, in duplicate, this 3rd day of March, 2010, in the Portuguese and English languages, both texts being equally valid.