Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has unveiled a plan to end deforestation in the Amazon that is seen as a critical step in addressing the country’s significant carbon emissions from the region. Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with almost 3% of global emissions. Almost half of Brazil’s carbon emissions come from deforestation.
The strategy, which will be implemented over four years, provides a roadmap to achieve the ambitious goal of halting illegal deforestation by 2030. Lula’s administration also plans to achieve net zero deforestation by replanting as much as is cut down, by restoring native vegetation stocks as compensation for legal vegetation removal.
As part of the announcement, Lula vowed to readjust Brazil’s international commitments to cut emissions, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, back to what was promised in 2015 during the Paris Agreement. Brazil committed to reduce carbon emission by 37% by 2025 and 43% by 2030. Lula’s predecessor, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, had scaled back the commitments.
The plan also involves increasing conservation units in vulnerable areas and creating new conservation units in the Amazon. The aim is to stimulate sustainable economic activities, such as the managed fishing of pirarucu and acai production, as alternatives to cattle-raising, which is responsible for most of the deforestation. The action plan also sets out measures to increase monitoring and law enforcement.
The announcement marks the fifth phase of an initiative called the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon. Created 20 years ago, during Lula’s first term, the plan was largely responsible for curbing deforestation by 83% between 2004 and 2012.
However, it is still unclear how the compensation for legal deforestation will be carried out, including the instruments and the level of responsibility of the private sector. Environmental groups have welcomed the announcement but caution that it is imperative to stop Congress from passing destructive measures.
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