Celso Amorim, Marina Silva & Sergio Rezende: The Amazon is ours. It is not for sale...

Climate change is due only in small part to changes in land use, including deforestation

Share

Recently there have been frequent newspaper references to the interest shown by foreign individuals, institutions and even governments in initiatives aimed at acquiring land in the Amazon region for conservation purposes. Such initiatives arise from concerns regarding the possible role of deforestation in climate change. However, they are also based on a lack of information regarding the Amazon rainforest, and ignore important scientific data.

Climate change is a genuine problem, and one to which Brazil attaches great importance. There is a global consensus that the phenomenon is being accelerated by human actions. It is a cumulative process, resulting from the progressive concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years, so it is wrong and unfair to focus attention primarily on countries' present emissions. Some of the countries currently producing emissions - particularly in the developing world - have little or no historical responsibility for global warming.

The main cause of climate change is well known: at least 80 per cent of the problem is a consequence of the burning of fossil fuels - especially coal and oil - from the mid-19th century onwards. It is due only in small part to changes in land use, including deforestation.

There are many reasons why current levels of deforestation around the world are a cause for concern, but in combating climate change the focus should be on altering energy matrixes and promoting more intensive use of clean energy. The UN Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol are quite clear on this point: those who caused the problem - the industrialised countries - must meet mandatory reduction targets and have the obligation to act first.

Although not obliged to meet any mandatory reduction targets, since it bears little responsibility for the problem, Brazil is doing its part. We have one of the cleanest energy matrixes in the world. Our bio-fuels programmes are often quoted as an example to be followed by other countries. We are therefore contributing to sustainable development and to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Brazil is also fighting deforestation by implementing policies aimed at promoting the value of our native forest and supporting the socio-economic development of communities that depend on it. Over recent years we have achieved significant reductions in the rate of deforestation in the Amazon. The rate of deforestation from mid-2004 to mid-2005 was 32 per cent lower than over the previous twelve months, and according to preliminary data there was a further fall of 11 per cent in 2005-06. These are important results, but the efforts towards a permanent decrease in deforestation must continue.

Sustainable forest management is an area with a great deal of potential for international co-operation through the exchange of experiences and support for technical capacity-building. We welcome such co-operation, as long as it is based on respect for our laws and our sovereignty.

Brazil is an active participant in the international debate regarding forests. At the UN Climate Change Conference in Nairobi in November we will be putting forward a proposal aimed at creating incentives for countries to reduce rates of deforestation voluntarily, which we believe would also be an appropriate way for developed countries to support the conservation of tropical rainforests.

The proposal constitutes just one aspect of Brazil's contribution to the shared efforts aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Brazil is firmly opposed to the unsustainable development patterns that have led to irreparable environmental damage all over the world. Brazil expects the industrialised countries, which are responsible for these development patterns, to comply with their obligations for reducing emissions.

In the developed world, well-meaning individuals who are concerned about climate change, with good reason, should dedicate themselves to influencing their own governments with a view to altering unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and to utilising renewable energy sources. The latter is an area in which Brazil has much to offer in terms of expertise and technology.

We are taking care of the Amazon in accordance with development models based on principles of sustainability defined by Brazilian society. The Amazon is part of the heritage of the Brazilian people, and it is not for sale.

The writers are, respectively, Brazil's foreign, environment and science & technology ministers

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Tony Abbott: A man most Australian women would like to pat on the back...iron in hand

Caroline Garnar
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea performs in California  

Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting

Yomi Adegoke
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there