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Brazil First to Submit Forest CO2 Data for UN Assessment

Brazil today submitted data on emissions reductions achieved by forest protection to the United Nations, the first country to do so under rules on deforestation agreed in November.

The country’s data will be assessed by international experts to establish a benchmark, against which future reductions in greenhouse-gas discharges will be measured. Nations are meeting this week and next in Bonn to progress negotiations over a global climate treaty to be signed in Paris in December 2015.

The rules for the system known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD-plus, establish a financial value for the storage of carbon dioxide, the biggest climate-warming gas, in forests that may otherwise have been cut down. Deforestation and changes in land use account for more than 20 percent of global emissions, according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“We are pleased that Brazil’s submission of a forest reference emission level in the Amazon biome symbolizes the beginning of this new phase,” Raphael Azeredo, head of Brazil’s delegation to the climate talks, said today in a statement. “We now hope developed countries will demonstrate their engagement with REDD-plus by scaling up financial support for results-based actions.”

The UN has yet to establish a procedure to issue tradeable carbon offsets or permits representing emissions cuts made through avoided deforestation. Norway has pledged $1 billion in contributions to Brazil’s Amazon Fund through 2015 under a bilateral agreement that delivers funds in exchange for cuts in the Latin American country’s rate of deforestation.

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