With the world’s largest tropical forest and a mostly hydro-powered economy, Brazil has been very busy with efforts to curb deforestation and use the resulting avoided emissions to fight climate change.
In Copenhagen, with a modest bit of help from EDF, several top Brazilian officials put their commitment to forest protection and green growth on display.
At the Mogens Dahl Center, just up the road from the Bella Center where UN climate talks are taking place, last night's Amazon Governor's Forum featured six state governors and Brazil's Environment Minister speaking about REDD. (That's the UN acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, a policy approach to curbing deforestation.)
Brazil has become a global leader in curbing deforestation, developing mapping and monitoring systems to track forest cover, and creating legal systems to protect it. With a tropical forest half the size of the continental United States, officials know they need to be active players in climate talks -and most likely in emissions trading – to tap the resources they'll need.
Minister Carlos Minc told an audience of 250 people, two TV networks and a crowd of other journalists that Brazil will need public funds but also can't snub market financing for REDD.
While the governors were busy at the Mogens Dahl Center, three of the leading potential contenders for Brazil's presidency swept into the Bella Center – putting to rest any doubts about whether a national commitment to reducing deforestation will outlast 2010 presidential elections.
One possible presidential contender, Marina Silva, a rubber tapper from Brazil's far west state of Acre and a former environment minster, has the other candidates striving mightily to establish their green credentials. Her approach seems to be working for the environment; industrial powerhouse Sao Paolo state has passed an emissions reduction law, and Brazil's congress is looking at the possibility of an ambitious national emissions law.
The Washington Post published a Q and A with Ms. Silva following her recent visit to Capitol Hill.
The other likely presidential contender is Jose Serra, the governor of Sao Paulo. He's expected to be the leading opposition candidate in Brazil’s 2010 presidential race.
The third likely presidential candidate who's here in Copenhagen is Dilma Rousseff of Brazil’s incumbent Workers’ Party. President Lula himself will arrive in Copenhagen later this week.