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BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT LULA EXPOSES U.S. HYPOCRISY IN 2009

ASKS FOR AID TO SAVE THE RAINFOREST (THE LUNGS OF THE PLANET)

PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HILARY CLINTON DON'T EVEN OFFER A DIME

rain forest destruction


BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT LULA OFFERS SOLUTION TO STOP GLOBAL WARMING:

HAVE WEALTHIER NATIONS CONTRIBUTE TO A FUND TO SAVE THE RAIN FOREST

On November 26th of 2009, Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva convened a summit on the Amazon in Manaus Brazil to form a unified position on deforestation and climate change before the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference. While the meeting attendance was fairly small, several important points about protecting the rain forest were made.

President Lula offered a solution for stopping the destruction of the rain forest: have the world's wealthier nations pay to stop it.

Lula insisted that the industrialized nations of the world had caused much more environmental damage than the loggers and farmers who burn and cut trees in the world's largest tropical rain forest.

"I don't want any gringo asking us to let an Amazon resident die of hunger under a tree," Lula said. "We want to preserve, but they will have to pay the price for this preservation because we never destroyed our forest like they mowed theirs down a century ago." In Brazil, the word "gringo" generally refers to anyone from the northern hemisphere.

"We want to preserve [the forests], but [other countries] have to pay for that preservation."

Lula's top foreign policy adviser, Marco Aurelio Garcia, also states that westerners are misinformed about life in the rain forest:

"In Europe everyone has opinions about the Amazon, and there are people who think the Amazon is a zoo where you have to pay to enter...They don't know there are 30 million who work there."

The good news is that the rate of deforestation has dropped by 45% - which is the lowest on record since monitoring began 21 years ago. Yet the bad news is that 7,000 sq. km have been destroyed between the years of 2008-2009, which is an area larger than the US state of Delaware. Brazil is seeking an 80% reduction in deforestation by 2020.

Lula argues that the Amazon is the world's best defense against global warming, since it absorbs a large amount of the planet's carbon dioxide. Yet 75% of Brazil's emissions come from rain forest clearing, since vegetation burns and chopped down trees rot.

Brazilian officials hope the Amazon Preservation Fund will raise $21 billion to protect natural reserves, persuade loggers and farmers to stop destroying trees, and finance scientific and technological projects.

 

AMERICA REMAINS SILENT IN RESPONSE TO LULA'S PLEA FOR HELP

So how many of the world's developed nations responded to Lula's call to save the lungs of the planet?

Out of the top quartile of 47 developed countries in the world, only two responded: Norway and Germany.

Norway very generously offered $1billion (£600m) in aid to the Amazon Preservation Fund by 2015. As of 2013, Norway has donated over $700 million in aid and Germany has donated $23 million.

While some developed nations have considered donating to the fund - including Japan, Sweden, South Korea and Switzerland - a majority have remained mute on the subject.

The United States of America is arguably the world's greatest climate offender, since it is the nation that has released the most Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial era (read our charts below). Yet in addition to offering nothing at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference, the United States has also offered a deafening silence towards Lula's proposal to save the lungs of the planet. It is also worth noting that America is dead last in aid to the poor.

Donations to Amazon Fund by Country (Amazon Fund)

 

THE FAILURE OF THE 2009 COPENHAGEN CLIMATE CONFERENCE

Shortly after the Amazon summit took place, the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Conference was held at Copenhagen, Denmark from December 7th to the 18th. On Friday the 18th, the final day of the conference, international media reported that the climate talks were "in disarray" (NPR, 12-18-09). After a night of 192 nations quibbling over the future of the planet, the concluding product of the 12 day conference was a "weak" and "wishy washy" declaration that accomplished next to nothing (IBN Live, 12-18-09).

The following quotes below are a pretty good summary of the Copenhagen experience.

"The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. World leaders had a once in a generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through." - Kumi Naidoo, Director of Greenpeace. (Greenpeace, 12-18-09)

Lumumba Di-Aping (the 2009 leader of the G77) said that the amount of money offered at the conference was so small, that it would not even be enough to buy coffins for the dead:

"$10 billion is not enough to buy us coffins".   "What is Obama going to tell his daughters? That their [Kenyan] relatives' lives are not worth anything? It is unfortunate that after 500 years-plus of interaction with the West we [Africans] are still considered 'disposables' ... My good friends…we've got to get together and fight the fight." (Mother Jones, 12-9-09)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also added his two cents:

"Do the rich think they can go to another planet when they've destroyed this one?...If the climate were a bank, they would have bailed it out already." (Venezuela Analysis, 12-16-09)

Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 Failure (World Future Fund Report)

Another point to consider here is that the UN Security Council is represented by 80% predominantly white, western nations. Should a global minority alone decide the fate of the rest of humanity? Other voices from the global south are beginning to speak out and offer their own solutions.


WHICH COUNTRY HAS GENERATED THE MOST GREENHOUSE GASES SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE INDUSTRIAL ERA?

President Lula stated that the nations that have contributed the most to climate change have the biggest responsibility in stopping it. We have included a series of charts below to show which nations have emitted the most greenhouses gases over the last century.

CUMULATIVE CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS PER BILLION TON. BETWEEN 1900-2011.

green house gas pie chart of nations 1900 - 2011

According to this chart, over the last 111 years, the United States has produced 354.5 billion tons of Carbon Dioxide. The total is 1,152 billion tons produced world wide. (Source: Asian Footprint Watch 2012)

 

CUMULATIVE ENERGY-RELATED CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS BETWEEN 1850-2007, PER BILLION TONS

green house gas emissions per billion tons, between 1850 - 2007

According to this chart, the United States has emitted 340 billion tons of Carbon Dioxide from 1850 to 2007. (Chart based on figures from The Guardian)


IN ADDITION TO OFFERING NOTHING TO SAVE THE RAIN FOREST

THE U.S. IS DEAD LAST IN AID TO THE POOR

U.S. dead last in aid to the poor

America and Poverty, A Sorry Record (World Future Fund Charts)


LINKS

Donations to Amazon Fund by Country (Amazon Fund)

 

2009 COPENHAGEN CLIMATE CONFERENCE FAILURE

Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 Failure (World Future Fund Report)

"Ten billion dollars is not enough to buy us coffins": Poor Countries Reject "Suicide Pact" (Mother Jones, 12-9-2009)

 

MORE ARTICLES

Which nations are the most responsible for climate change? (The Guardian, 4-21-11)

Brazilian president says 'gringos' must pay to protect Amazon (The Guardian, 11-27-09)

Rich should help Amazon forests, summit says (BBC, 11-27-09)

Norway pledges $1 billion to Brazil Amazon Fund (Reuters, 9-16-08)

Brazil to establish huge Amazon preservation fund (Mongabay, 5-29-08)