17 Apr 2009

Carbon deal 'key to Amazon preservation'

10:06 pm on 17 April 2009

The governor of Brazil's huge Amazonas state said deforestation could fall to zero by 2020 if a global climate summit in Copenhagen in December adopts measures to put an economic value on preserving forests.

Eduardo Braga's state government has pioneered the preservation of the Amazon by granting financial incentives to forest dwellers, an idea that has gained ground in international climate policy ahead of the summit.

The mechanism allows rich countries to offset their carbon emissions by paying to prevent deforestation, which accounts for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activity.

Despite widespread tree-felling, Amazonas, Brazil's biggest state, still has relatively intact forest covering an area six times the size of the United Kingdom.

Mr Braga urged negotiators to make funding for forest preservation, either through carbon credits or payments from rich countries, central to a new deal to replace the 1992 Kyoto Treaty.

He has said that projects to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation have helped cut deforestation by 70% in five years in a state which not long ago handed out free chainsaws to loggers.