November 28, 2007 / 5:09 PM / 11 years ago

Brazil rejects emission targets for poor nations

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil reiterated its opposition on Wednesday to imposing targets on developing countries’ carbon emissions, days before a major international conference on climate change.

A farmhouse sits on what was once thick Amazon jungle, as more forest is burned off to later plant grass for cattle pasture, 1,150 kms north of Brasilia near the city of Imperatriz, in this file photo taken September 22, 2003. Brazil reiterated its opposition on Wednesday to imposing targets on developing countries' carbon emissions, days before a major international conference on climate change. REUTERS/Rickey Rogers-Files

A United Nations report on Tuesday recommended that developing countries cut their carbon emissions at least 20 percent by 2050. Rich nations should cut theirs by 80 percent over the same period, it said.

“We are not in favor of targets,” Sergio Serra, a foreign ministry expert on climate change, told a news conference in the capital Brasilia.

The United Nations hosts a climate change conference in Bali, Indonesia on December 3-14, which the world body hopes will lead to negotiations on a new global pact to reduce carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

Brazil is a developing world trading power and is gaining influence on environmental issues because of its pioneering biofuels program and global concern over the destruction of its Amazon rainforest.

“The principle responsibility lies with the industrialized countries,” said Everton Vargas, under-secretary for political affairs at the foreign ministry.

“Our offer is to adopt verifiable policies at a national level to combat climate change — we have our own targets,” Vargas added.

Brazil has forged a common front with other developing nations in global trade talks but has less in common with them on environmental issues, analysts say.

China is set to surpass the United States as the world’s leading carbon emitter and, like Washington, has resisted pressure to set caps or specific targets on emissions.

Brazil is a pioneer in low-emissions ethanol derived from sugar cane and most of its electricity is derived from clean hydropower. But it is also a large carbon emitter, due largely to the destruction of the Amazon forest. Tropical forests release stored carbon dioxide when trees are burnt or decompose.

Brazil wants rich nations at the Bali conference to pay for poor countries to adapt to climate change. It also hopes for pledges of technology transfers to help coal-dependent countries, such as China or Mozambique, control emissions.

Reporting by Raymond Colitt; editing by Stuart Grudgings

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