Now Hot In Brazil: 'Carbon Credits' To Fight Global Warming

Brazil ranks second in the number of programs aimed on emission reduction.

Programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions are blossoming in Brazil, with the "carbon credit" system winning interest from companies in industrialized countries. Brazil ranks second among developing countries, behind India and ahead of Mexico and China, in the number of these investments, though under the Kyoto Protocol Brazil's emissions in 1994, ministry data show.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, highly industrialized countries obliged to reduce greenhouse gases can invest in emissions reducing projects in developing countries as an alternative to carrying out costly changes in their own countries. Known as the Clean Development on climate change it is not required to cut emissions of its greenhouse gases.

"Developing countries are committed to introducing clean techniques but they do not have quantitative targets," as highly industrialized countries bear most of the responsibility for curbing these emissions, said Luiz Fernandes, the science and technology ministry's executive secretary.

In total, 102 projects have been approved so far in Brazil. Fifty-eight more are under review as part of the clean development mechanism. These projects represent an overall reduction of 189 million tons of CO2, or 18% of Mechanism (CDM), the reductions generated in the developing countries can help meet emissions targets for industrialized nations, according to the UN, under which the Kyoto Protocol operates.

More than 80% of Brazil's power is generated in hydraulic plants, and Brazil has been on the cutting edge of biofuel use. It has invested in and embraced ethanol use in its vehicles, while deforestation in the Amazon has dropped 52% in two years, said Fernandes.

Almost a third of the CDM projects involve power generation with biomass, from such sources as sugar cane crop waste. Others involve recovering gas from garbage dumps, small water-powered generators and even pig waste.

Among countries leading in the trading are Britain, with 26 projects, the Netherlands, with 18, and Japan with 8.

Brazil also is the first developing country to plan a carbon credit trading market. Launched in 2005, the project is in an initial phase with emissions-reducing proposals due to be approved by government agencies.

Officials with the Brazilian stock exchange hope the carbon credit market will offer its first auctions in early in 2007.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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