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Brazil to offer 39% carbon cuts at UN climate meet

November 14th, 2009

Lula5Brazil said Friday it will offer a “voluntary” cut of 39 percent of greenhouse gas emissions at the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen next month.

The goal, set against Brazil’s forecast level of emissions in 2020, was presented by Environment Minister Carlos Minc and government chief minister Dilma Rousseff at a news conference in Sao Paulo following talks with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Brazil is considered the fourth-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, largely because of carbon released through deforestation of its vast Amazon forest by ranchers and farmers.

Brazil’s target is between 36.1 percent and 38.9 percent, Rousseff said.

Around half of the projected cut would come from slowing deforestation of the Amazon.

Brazil posted encouraging news on that front this week, when it said Thursday it had experienced the smallest loss of the rainforest over the past year in more than two decades.

The remainder of the cuts would come from making efforts in farming, industry and improving energy efficiency.

Under government estimates, Brazil would produce 2.7 billion tons of greenhouse gases in 2020 if the cuts are not taken into account, based on an average economic expansion of six percent. That economic growth forecast is seen as improbably high by some observers.

Should the 39-percent target hold, between 975 and 1,050 tons of the planet-warming gases would be reduced under government calculations, leaving the country emitting between 1.7 billion and 1.8 billion tons — less than the 2.1 billion it produced in 2005.

The success of the UN climate conference rests on developed countries agreeing to pay tens of billions of dollars to developing countries such as Brazil to entice them to cut emissions even as they pursue economic expansion.

Minc noted that by saying “Brazil is a country that has no obligation to take on targets, but (its decision) could influence” other nations to follow suit.

The UN conference takes place December 7-18.

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