Brazil opposes carbon-intensity plan

Brazil wants historic emissions of rich and poor nations -- rather than “carbon intensity” proposals linked to GDP -- to be the basis for new greenhouse-gas pollution targets, the country's top climate negotiator told Reuters. China, India and South Africa also will back the historic-emissions proposal in upcoming talks, José Miguez said, adding that “the greenhouse effect is not caused by emissions” but by their accumulation in the atmosphere.

Miguez, who heads Brazil’s Interministerial Commission on Global Climate Change, said his country is not yet proposing targets for emissions cuts under the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol because developed nations should take the lead. “We are proposing that the second period of commitments be based on the historic responsibilities of each country,” he said.

Brazil opposes carbon-intensity proposals that measure emissions per dollar of gross domestic product because they favour larger economies and risk allowing continued emissions increases as economies grow. “It’s the proposal backed by the US, Japan and Germany,” Miguez noted. “It’s good for countries with big GDPs.”

Because of deforestation in the Amazon rain forest, Brazil will play a key role in the United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December. About one-fifth of the greenhouse-gas emissions caused by humans are linked to deforestation. Half of Brazil’s total emissions – about 700 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually – are released through deforestation, Miguez said.

Brazil is against projects in which developed countries offset their own emissions by purchasing rights to carbon stored in trees as they grow. “Our position is that we’re opposed to carbon markets for preventing deforestation,” he told Reuters. “People confuse this by saying we want to continue deforestation, which is false.”

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