Amazon Deforestation Grows in August, Brazil Says Could Stop in 2015

Amazon deforestation trees burning down Photo

Photo credit: Leo Freitas.

As global warming awareness grows and more eyes are posed on the planet's green spaces, it's been a year of many news and speculation for the Brazilian Amazon. There were figures saying deforestation is slowing down, others saying clearing is speeding up, many announcements from the government (like the idea of a permit to enter the jungle or forbidding banks to give loans to illegal loggers) and even the appearance of an international Amazon fund.

Last week it was time for a new announcement, when the Brazilian government presented the draft for a plan to fight and adapt to global warming. In the preliminary document, the government doesn't set goals for carbon emissions reduction, but says by 2015 deforestation could stop in the Amazon. More specifically, that they'll be planting more trees than the ones being cut down.

Just a few days after the launch, new figures released by the Brazilian National Research Institute say deforestation went up by 134% from July to August, and that the 756 kilometers lost represent 228% more than the figures from the same month last year. The annual accumulation in 2008 is 64% more than the 12 months last year.

In front of this, could Brazil's plan be a real solution to the problem? Keep reading to find out more.Brazil's plan to rescue the Amazon

According to BBC Mundo and Abril, deforestation accounts for 75 to 80% of Brazilian emissions, and one of the main goals of this draft plan is to target this problem.

Carlos Minc --who was named Environmental Minister after the tough Marina Silva resigned-- said there will be an aggressive program to restore native forests and stronger measures against illegal wood.

The reforestation program includes increasing the area of planted forest from 5.5 million hectares to 11 million by 2015, 2 million of which have to be native species and the rest forest for commercial use.

According to Minc, if this is done, by 2015 the government would be planting more trees than the ones being cut down. Of course this statement was done a few days before the new figures for deforestation in the Amazon were released, which threw an alarming 134% monthly increase.

Deforestation in the Amazon for Agriculture Photo

Area cleared for agriculture in Mato Grosso state. Deforestation has accumulated 64% growth in 2008 compared to 2007's twelve months. (Credit: Leo Freitas)
The other Brazilian measures to fight and adapt to Global Warming

Apart from targeting the Amazon and illegal logging, the draft for the plan includes the push for bio-fuel participation in the national market. The government says the substitution of gas for ethanol could save 508 million tons of carbon emissions by 2017. In this line, the plan estimates that national production of ethanol will go from 25.6 billion liters this year to almost double in 2017 (53.2 billion). And Minc said "there's no chance it will not be green," as it would face blocks in the international market.

Another point of the draft is the intention to push renewable energy, informs Abril. The government says by 2010, 7 thousand MW of clean power will get into the national market, and the Energy Ministry is actually searching providers for wind power in the first semester of 2009. The plan also seeks to increase solar participation and encourage solar water heating (in states like Parana, large solar water heaters have already been installed).

Additional measures included are focused in society, with awareness campaigns about energy efficiency and carbon emissions and incentives for the replacement of some very old home appliances in some segments.

This plan was created with the participation of several ministries and will be open to public discussion during October. The definitive text won't be signed by president Luiz Inacio da Silva for another four months.

:: Via BBC Mundo, Abril, and O Globo.

More on Amazon deforestation at TreeHugger and Planet Green:
Amazon Deforestation Slows Last Year, but 8,147 Square Kilometers Still Chopped Down
Amazon: Brazil Considers Extending Permits to Enter the Jungle
Help Save the Amazon's Indigenous People
Amazon Condoms To Preserve Forests and Reduce Imports in Brazil

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