The internet is brimming with comments, mostly joking or debauchee, regarding a suggestion by the US Environmental Protection Agency to tax ranching of cows and sheep due to rumination of food producing burping and flatulence ( so to speak). It is an attempt to reduce emissions of methane – about 23 times more damaging that carbon dioxide to the greenhouse effect and changes in climate.
We should, despite the witty angles of the issue, take it more seriously here, because soon, there will be also pressure on Brazil’s emission of methane by cattle. The country has a herd of over 200 million heads, which grows mainly in deforested areas of Amazonia.
The Brazilian emissions inventory submitted to the Climate Convention, which refers to 1994, shows that Brazil has delivered that year about 13.17 million tonnes of methane, of which 10.16 million in agricultural (includes rice grown in flooded areas) and 1.8 million tonnes a “change in use of land and forests”, and 803 tons in the “waste management”. Such as 13.17 million tons can be multiplied by more than 20 to find the equivalent to carbon, it is concluded that emissions of livestock and deforestation contribute more to the total emissions of the country than all the energy matrix (transport, industry , etc..) replied that the inventory of 236.5 million tonnes annually. Not to mention that, from 1994 to now, emissions grew a lot in Brazil.
Yesterday, we heard in the Brazilian media that the level of air pollution in the most deforested areas in the Amazon is 20 x higher than WHO’s indicator of serious pollution.
I am not sure how the cows and sheep contribute to air pollution, yet one is chewing up our contribution to climate change.
In the first two months of this year, 173 workers were released by the Brazilian Ministry of Labor. Last year, more than 5 thousand workers were in those conditions. Most cases occur in areas of the agricultural frontier, in Pará and Mato Grosso states.In 2008, six hundred people were living under modern slavery in 21 farms in the State of Pará.
A joint parliamentary front formed last week in the Congress will try to approve in May the amendment that provides the expropriation of farms where such situations are found.
The physicist James Hansen gained worldwide fame after appearing in the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” as the scientist who warned the U.S. Congress that global warming was not fiction. Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA, this week he defended in Copenhagen drastic measures against global warming, as high taxes on fossil fuels and the banning of coal.
In my opinion, there might not be such good timing for petroleum taxation, as the burden over low-priced petroleum will not affect negatively the global economy, neither encroach petroleum-dependent economies.
In the international climate arena, I guess this can gain momentum. But in fact I haven’t seen any big NGO flagging taxation. Maybe Greenpeace, together with Tuvalu’s government?
Yesterday, Prince Charles proposed that developed countries support the conservation of forests in tropical regions by issuing securities to be bought by private investors, pension funds and insurers. The money would be given as payment to countries with tropical forests for ecosystem services.
Source: Folha Online
“Your highness” praised the creation of the Amazon Fund to fight deforestation but warned about difficulties created by the current economic crisis. He said: “will be nothing compared to the total effect global warming”.
Adriana Ramos, from ISA, traveled to Santarém with other specialists in order to ‘chat’ with the Prince about the Amazon. Let’s see what she will say…
>Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 18:09:55 +0000
>11 March 2009
>FPP has just published a new briefing titled "Indigenous Peoples'
>Rights and REDD: The Case of the Saramaka People v. Suriname"
>compiled by Fergus Mackay.
>The briefing can be downloaded at:
>The briefing uses the recent Saramaka People v. Suriname case to
>demonstrate that norms on indigenous peoples' rights enshrined and
>protected under the Inter-Amercan human rights system apply fully to
>any project, investment, plan, initiative or decision for
>forest-based climate change mitigation (incuding REDD) that may
>affect the lands and terrritories of indigenous peoples. The
>analysis notes that these norms apply to all the countries in the
>Amazon basin, to most other countries in Latin America and also to
>other regions (through related norms under global human rights instruments).
>best wishes, Tom Griffiths
It has been 30 years since the constitution originally called for the demarcation and turn over of indigenous lands within five years – this is certainly overdue. As reported by Jorge Rodrigo Moraes for the Expresso da Notícia (translation from Portuguese), since demarcation in 2005 and a subsequent 2007 Supreme Court order for non-indigenous persons to vacate the reserve, violent opposition has halted the transfer of lands. Non-indigenous rice farmers have resisted violently to relocation outside the reserve. Following a failed attempt by the military to expel remaining non-indigenous inhabitants, the Supreme Court again took up the case during the summer of 2008.
The Brazilian Supreme Court is set to punctuate a long, contentious history of indigenous affairs in Brazil with the finalizing of this historic land transfer.
It was in 1993 that the demarcation of the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Reserve was first proposed. After being identified as an Indian homeland by the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) in 2004, the lands (totaling 1.8m ha) were mapped during the term of then president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and were recognized formally in 2005 by current president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Reserve.
On 27 August 2008, Joênia Batista de Carvalho, an indigenous lawyer and member of the Wapichana people , became the first Indian to defend indigenous rights in front of the Brazilian Supreme Court.
Last court session will be hold in March, 18.
Portuguese speakers can follow the judgment in real time and comment it through Twitter:
I find it quite interesting, as Virgilio Viana, ex-secretary in Amazonas State, was in London for a sabathical at IIED. Now we now that he got money for Juma Reserve (his “baby) and also that he will give a presentation at Chatan House.
February 15, 2009
Amazon villagers get Conservative party windfall for saving rainforest