What is at stake for Brazilian Amazonia in the climate negotiations

Abstract

Issues left undecided at COP-18 in Doha in December 2012 are critical to containing the two greatest threats to Brazil’s Amazon forest: direct deforestation and forest loss through drought and fire provoked by climate change. Brazil’s diplomatic positions on the role of tropical forests in mitigating global warming currently call for receiving donations through a voluntary fund, but without generating carbon credit valid against emissions-reduction commitments by countries that accept limits on their national emissions (i.e., Annex I countries). Brazil has long rejected accepting a target (assigned amount), and has instead presented a non-binding “voluntary objective.” At COP-17 in Durban, Brazil expressed willingness to accept a commitment after 2020, but only if all of the rest of the world agreed to do the same. This author argues that Brazil’s national interests would be better served by accepting a target now and by supporting fully marketable carbon credit from Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). The global goal of preventing mean temperature from increasing beyond 2 °C above pre-industrial levels would be much more likely to be achieved in practice with tropical forests fully included in a carbon market as part of an agreement for the period after 2012.

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Acknowledgments

I thank Conselho Nacional do Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq: Proc. 305880/2007-1), Rede GEOMA and Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA: PRJ13.03) for financial support. An earlier Portuguese-language version of these arguments is available at http://www.redeamazonica.com.br/portalamazonia/especiais/especial.php?idEspecial=19. P.M.L.A. Graça and three anonymous reviewers made helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Philip M. Fearnside.

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Fearnside, P.M. What is at stake for Brazilian Amazonia in the climate negotiations. Climatic Change 118, 509–519 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-012-0660-9

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Keywords

  • Clean Development Mechanism
  • Kyoto Protocol
  • Forest Carbon
  • Clean Development Mechanism Project
  • Carbon Credit