Policy ForumEnvironment

The End of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

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Science  04 Dec 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5958, pp. 1350-1351
DOI: 10.1126/science.1182108

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Brazil has two major opportunities to end the clearing of its Amazon forest and to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions substantially. The first is its formal announcement within United Nations climate treaty negotiations in 2008 of an Amazon deforestation reduction target, which prompted Norway to commit $1 billion if it sustains progress toward this target (1). The second is a widespread marketplace transition within the beef and soy industries, the main drivers of deforestation, to exclude Amazon deforesters from their supply chains (2) [supplementary online material (SOM), section (§) 4]. According to our analysis, these recent developments finally make feasible the end of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, which could result in a 2 to 5% reduction in global carbon emissions. The $7 to $18 billion beyond Brazil's current budget outlays that may be needed to stop the clearing [a range intermediate to previous cost estimates (3, 4)] could be provided by the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism for compensating deforestation reduction that is under negotiation within the UN climate treaty (5), or by payments for tropical forest carbon credits under a U.S. cap-and-trade system (6).