Saturday, October 31, 2009

Amazon Gets a Break from Cattle Industry

from GreenPeace
Brazil —
A major victory has been won for climate and forest protection. Four of the largest players in the global cattle industry joined forces to ban the purchase of cattle from newly deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon from their supply chains. This fabulous news follows Greenpeace's call for zero deforestation in the rainforest.

In June 2009, Greenpeace's report, “Slaughtering the Amazon,” exposed the link between forest destruction and the expansion of cattle ranching in the Amazon. Upon releasing the report and video, thousands of activists took action and sent letters to shoe companies, attracting attention to the issue. This resulted in major shoe companies Adidas, Nike, Timberland, Clarks, and Geox make the commitment not to buy leather from Amazon destruction.

The Climate Connection

Forest destruction accounts for almost 20 percent of global warming causing emissions, which is more climate pollution than all the world’s cars, trucks, trains, planes, and ships combined.

The Brazilian cattle sector, which occupies 80% of all deforested areas of the Amazon, is the country’s leading carbon polluter.

Amazon Declaration

Each of the companies, JBS-Friboi, Bertin, Minerva and Marfrig, declared the adoption of environmental and social standards to ensure their products are free from cattle raised in newly deforested areas of the rainforest. The Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (ABRAS), which includes Walmart and Carrefour, attended the event and supports the call for zero deforestation.

The event was attended by Governor Blairo Maggi of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, which has the highest rate of deforestation in the Amazon and the largest cattle herd in Brazil. Maggi announced that the state would support efforts to protect the Amazon and would provide high-resolution satellite images for monitoring.

At the United Nations General Assembly in September, President Lula announced a target of 80% reduction in deforestation by 2020 for Brazil.

Protecting forests and tackling climate change

In just 10 weeks’ time, governments around the world will meet in Copenhagen to agree a strong climate deal to avoid catastrophic climate change. Deforestation accounts for around 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the world’s trains, planes and cars put together. A good climate deal will only be effective if it successfully tackles emissions from both fossil fuels and deforestation.

We are calling for developed world governments to provide $140 billion a year to tackle the climate crisis, to fund both mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries. Approximately $40 billion a year of this should be designated to forest protection. The funds would be provided in return for a commitment to stop deforestation globally by 2020.

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