Jobs, economics complicate Brazil’s Amazon fight

Bradley Brooks-The Associated Press, 11/27/09

World leaders set to gather in Copenhagen next month to draft a new accord on fighting climate change already admit the much-anticipated summit won’t produce a global treaty. There are too many disagreements among countries on how to reduce heat-trapping carbon emissions blamed for warming the planet.

So far, the Brazilian government has focused mostly on enforcement.

The Brazilian Amazon is arguably the world’s biggest natural defense against global warming, acting as a “sink,” or absorber, of carbon dioxide. But it is also a great contributor to warming. About 75 percent of Brazil’s emissions come from rainforest clearing, as vegetation burns and felled trees rot.

Advocates have long pressed to defend the world’s rain forests, to save animal and plant species, safeguard watersheds and protect indigenous people’s homelands. For Brazil, water vapor from the forest is also vital to its rainy climate. But the government now has another reason to protect the Amazon: A new global climate agreement is expected to reward countries for “avoided deforestation,” with cash or credits tradable on the global carbon market…

Read more…