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Brazil plans mega fund to conserve forests at Cop28  

Fire, Forest Fire, Outdoors Reuters/Bruno Kelly
Brazil is to launch plans for an 'arc of restoration' to counter the so-called arc of deforestation advancing ever deeper into the Amazon

Brazil plans to propose a “huge” fund to pay for the conservation of tropical forests at the United Nations Cop28 climate change summit, which begins later this month in Dubai, the country’s top climate negotiator said on Thursday.

That fund, not previously reported, would be the latest in a proliferation of multilateral environmental funds. Countries agreed in the past year to establish a giant fund dedicated to biodiversity and another to pay for the destruction caused by climate change.

The funds funnel money from rich countries to poor developing nations that struggle to otherwise pay for their environmental efforts.

Brazil is the world’s largest rainforest nation and contains some 60 percent of the Amazon jungle. It is seen as a vital supporter in curbing climate change and protecting unique plant and animal species.

Brazil presented the idea of a tropical forest conservation fund on Thursday at a meeting with ministers from seven other Amazon rainforest countries, according to Brazil’s top climate diplomat, André Corrêa do Lago.

“It’s a conceptual proposal with a view to create a fund to help conserve tropical forests around the world in 80 countries,” Corrêa do Lago said.

He said the proposal was not finalised and Brazil was seeking support and suggestions from the other rainforest nations.

Asked if the fund would rival $100 billion in annual funding previously promised by rich nations in climate financing, Corrêa do Lago declined to give the proposed size of the fund but said it would be “huge.”

The fund would not value forest conservation in terms of carbon, like many existing schemes, since protecting forests would primarily prevent further greenhouse gas emissions rather than absorbing additional carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere, Corrêa do Lago said.

He said the value would likely instead be linked to the area of forest, measured in hectares, or units of 0.01 sq km.

The international proposal to conserve forests will be partnered with a programme inside Brazil to reforest destroyed areas.

Brazil will also launch plans at Cop28 for an “arc of restoration” to counter the so-called arc of deforestation that is advancing ever deeper into the Amazon.

The national development bank, BNDES will run the project, Corrêa do Lago said.

Brazil Is Back

Shortly after winning election, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at last year’s UN climate summit Cop27, announced “Brazil is back” as an international environmental leader.

This year, he will present how Brazil is advancing on all environmental fronts, Corrêa do Lago said, including reducing Amazon deforestation in the 12 months to July to the lowest level since 2018.

The eight Amazon countries are also discussing a proposal on whether to issue a joint commitment to end deforestation by 2030, a target already endorsed by Brazil and some others.

Corrêa do Lago said that the proposal was advancing but declined to say if the deal could be announced at Cop28.

He said President Lula will push hard for the world to redouble efforts to limit climate change to a 1.5C rise, despite many analysts saying this target may be out of reach. Global temperatures have already risen about 1.2C on average.

Corrêa do Lago declined to say whether Brazil would support a decision at Cop28 to “phase out” fossil fuels entirely. At past Cop summits, China and India have blocked that language, with the nearly 200 countries in attendance instead only calling for a “phase down” of fossil fuels.