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Norway payments to Brazil for reducing deforestation reach $670 million

Deforestation in Brazil.

Norway will deposit another $180 million into Brazil’s Amazon Fund after the Latin American giant reported a third straight annual drop in deforestation, reports Bloomberg. The payment comes despite a high-profile dispute over who verifies reductions in emissions from deforestation — Norway believes emissions reductions should be measured by an independent third party, but Brazil disagrees. The disagreement sidelined discussions over the REDD+ mechanism during climate talks in Doha, pushing negotiations over the program out another year.

Norway’s deposit pushed its total payments into the Amazon Fund to $670 million, making it by far the largest contributor to the voluntary fund. Norway has committed up to $1 billion by 2015 to the fund if Brazil meets its deforestation reduction targets.

Brazil is using the money to support programs to reduce deforestation, including incentives for ranchers and farmers to adopt “greener” practices, improved law enforcement, and better monitoring. Norway has pledged 3 billion krone ($530 million) per year toward global efforts to reduce deforestation. Other beneficiaries of its largess to date include Indonesia, Guyana, and Tanzania. Norway’s payments are performance-based for reducing emissions from deforestation, but do not generate “credits” or “offsets”.

Brazil has seen its annual deforestation rate plunge by more than 80 percent since 2004. While the government has taken a number of steps to reduce forest clearing, economic trends have helped create favorable conditions for slowing deforestation. However some civil society groups fear that new investments in roads, dams, and energy extraction could reverse some of the recent gains. They further argue that a relaxation of the country’s Forest Code, which regulates forest conversion on private lands, could erode progress on cutting deforestation, which has tracked higher since this August after registering a 27 percent decline over the previous 12 months.

Brazil has the world’s largest extent of tropical forest. Nearly two-thirds of the Amazon rainforest lies within its borders.

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