Norway Pays Brazil for Deforestation Cut Amid Verification Row
Norway will contribute $180 million to Brazil’s Amazon Fund after the South American country reduced deforestation for a third year in a row, even as the countries disagree over who should measure carbon savings from forests.
Brazil reduced the rate at which forests are being lost by 27 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to a statement from Norway’s Environment Ministry. The rate of deforestation has fallen nearly 70 percent from historic levels, Norway said. Payments from the Scandinavian country now total $670 million, out of a total $1 billion pledged through 2015.
“The importance of what Brazil has achieved on deforestation over the last few years can hardly be overestimated,” Bard Vegar Solhjell, Norway’s environment minister, said in the statement.
Under the United Nations’ Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program, developing nations protect and manage their forest cover in exchange for funding to support their efforts from developed states. A disagreement between Brazil and Norway over who should be responsible for verifying the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by trees is delaying efforts to produce a set of rules for protecting forests.
Greenhouse-gas discharges caused by deforestation represent about 20 percent of the world’s total emissions, according to the UN. Nations have been discussing since 2008 how to incorporate REDD into global action on climate change.
Brazil’s envoy to the UN global warming talks in Doha said actions to prevent deforestation are national measures that may be verified under existing rules, known as International Consultation and Analysis, while Norway is seeking more high- level monitoring procedures.
The disagreement threatens efforts to create rules for REDD programs. The forest talks under way at the UN conference are scheduled to finish tomorrow.
“No developing country will have international verification of its actions, especially if they are national policies,” Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Brazil’s under-secretary for environment, said in Doha. “We’ll have a system to check the accuracy of our data, done domestically.”
The disagreement is overshadowing work on identifying additional benefits from REDD activities and ensuring they are reflected in negotiating text, according to Stephen Leonard, the president of the Climate Justice Program who has followed the UN talks since 2009.
Norway “wants a higher degree of verification than Brazil is prepared to give,” Leonard said in an interview yesterday. “This causes huge delay while we’re losing forests at an alarming rate.”
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