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BRAZIL
Government takes on climate change
10/1/2008
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Brazilian officials launch program to lower greenhouse gas emission.

The Brazilian government launched the ambitious National Climate Change Plan on Sept. 25, that seeks to reduce the giant country´s greenhouse gas emission by eliminating the net deforestation to 2015.

Environment Carlos Minc said that tree planting will increase in order to erase any deforestation effects within the seven-year period, and with greater forestation intitiatives planned from that point onward.

The plan is subject to a national referendum starting Sept. 29, lasting one month.

“The confirmed reduction of deforestation levels every year ... until illegal deforestation reaches zero,” is the main goal of the program, Minc said.

One of its other objectives is to double the area of planted trees to 11 million hectares by 2015, 2 million of which will be native tree species. After that point, there will be more trees planted than chopped down, he added.

Brazil is the world´s fourth largest source of greenhouse gases, and deforestation is responsable for 75 percent of its emissions.

Minc said that the initiative will mean the reduction of hundreds of millions of tons of carbon gas per year, but the plan was heavily criticized by environmental organizations.

Greenpeace said that it is too vague and does not state how the proposals will be carried out.

Adalberto Verissimo, a researcher with the Brazil-based Institute of Man and the Environment of Amazonia said in an interview with Inter Press Service news agency that "planting exotic tree species like eucalyptus could compensate for desforestation in terms of cutting down the greenhouse effect by capturing carbon-based gases, but it does not replace the environmental functions of native forest."

He added that reforestation with native species would not create an equivalent compensation because a “mature forest” would be replaced by new trees that would need hundreds of years to reach the level of lost trees and “it would never be the same.”

The government´s plan also aims to improve energy efficiency and the development of forms of renewable energy. It expects to increase from 10 to 20 percent the collection of recyclable garbage, and from 35 to 70 percent of treated wastewater.
—Latinamerica Press.


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