Brazilian groups want direct access to U.S. forest funding

May 9, 2022, 7:57 PM | Updated: 8:06 pm
FILE - Indigenous people take part in a march during the 18th annual Free Land Indigenous Camp, in ...

FILE - Indigenous people take part in a march during the 18th annual Free Land Indigenous Camp, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Brazilian environmental and Indigenous organizations, together with some companies, are in a letter released late Monday, May 9, urging the United States to come through with promised funding for forest protection and to deal directly with people who live in the forest, have protected it and "are directly affected by the escalating deforestation." (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian environmental and Indigenous organizations, together with some companies, are urging the United States to come through with promised funding for forest protection and deal directly with people who live in the forest, have protected it and, they say, “are directly affected by the escalating deforestation.”

More than 330 organizations and companies signed a letter released late Monday ahead of a hearing scheduled for Thursday in the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss a bill introduced in November by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. The bill, known as Amazon21, would create a $9 billion fund administered by the U.S. State Department to finance forest conservation and natural carbon absorption in developing countries.

In the letter, the signatories say passage of the measure would be a sign that President Joe Biden is keeping a pledge he made last year at the international climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, to contribute up to $9 billion to fight deforestation. Hoyer introduced Amazon21 following the pledge.

The bill’s chances for passage in the U.S. Senate as well as the House are uncertain as the Congress and Biden administration focus on military support for Ukraine and domestic elements of Biden’s climate agenda remain stalled. Still, the letter notes that the bill targets a main source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Brazil holds about one-third of the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest such tropical forest and an enormous carbon sink. There is widespread concern that its deforestation will release massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, further complicating hopes of arresting climate change. Worse, that could push past a tipping point in which much of the forest will begin an irreversible process of degradation into tropical savannah.

Signatories of the letter include the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, an enormous umbrella organization with members ranging from WWF Brazil to the giant meat producer JBS. The Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon also signed on.

The signers say they want the bill to ensure “transparent and straightforward financing” that deals directly with Indigenous people and others who traditionally have conserved the forest and whose livelihoods are directly affected by forest felling.

The State Department usually manages relationships on a nation to nation basis, but Amazon21 specifies there can be forest agreements with “subnational” actors.

“There are many ways to do international cooperation,” André Guimarães, a spokesperson for the coalition, said by phone. “You can make a check to a partner government, create a financial mechanism that supports initiatives and projects, work with subnational governments or create financial mechanisms.”

The question of who would control the funds is sharper now in Brazil because the current administration of President Jair Bolsonaro supports neither protection for the Amazon rainforest nor indigenous autonomy. During his presidency, Amazon deforestation hit a 15-year high, which followed a 22% jump from the prior year, according to official data published in November. The Brazilian Amazon lost an area of rainforest roughly the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut in just the 12 months preceding July 2021.

Guimarães said the letter is not a reaction to far-right Bolsonaro, whose environmental policies have received extensive criticism. But he indicated Bolsonaro would take a dim view of the fund, having referred in the past to imperialist forces trying to take over the Amazon.

In 2019, during his first year in office, Bolsonaro also undermined the largest international cooperation effort to preserve the Amazon rainforest, the Norwegian-backed Amazon Fund, by dissolving the steering committee that selects projects to finance.

That fund was designed so that the more Brazil reduced deforestation, the higher the donations. Norway provided more than 90% of the money, some $ 1.2 billion.

Since then, the Amazon Fund has supported only projects approved before Bolsonaro was elected. Norway and Germany have stopped contributing.

The letter was sent to Hoyer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A nurse holds a vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, right, and a ...
Associated Press

Opponents of federal vaccine mandate seek rehearing

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court is being asked to reconsider its decision allowing the Biden administration to require that federal employees get vaccinated against COVID-19. A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month vacated a lower court ruling blocking the mandate and ordered dismissal of a lawsuit challenging […]
12 hours ago
Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry poses for media after an interview with the Asso...
Associated Press

COP27 host Egypt will push for climate goals, allow protests

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Egypt, host of the next United Nations summit on climate change, will push countries to make good on their pledges to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions, facilitate “non-adversarial” talks on compensation to developing countries for global warming impacts and allow climate activists to protest, said the incoming president of COP27. In […]
12 hours ago
FILE - Democrat Antonio Delgado speaks at a democratic watch party in Kingston, N.Y., Tuesday, Nov....
Associated Press

Next New York lieutenant governor to be sworn in Wednesday

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado will be sworn in Wednesday as New York’s next lieutenant governor, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced. Hochul said Monday she will issue a proclamation for a special election to fill her fellow Democrat’s seat in upstate New York once he resigns. It remains unclear when that will be. […]
12 hours ago
FILE - the Shell logo at a petrol station in London, Jan. 20, 2016. A long-time contractor for Shel...
Associated Press

Contractor quitting puts Shell in spotlight over climate

BERLIN (AP) — A longtime contractor for Shell has publicly called out the oil and gas company’s climate plans, accusing the company of “double talk” by saying it wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions while working on tapping new sources of fossil fuel. Caroline Dennett, who says she consulted Shell on safety issues for more […]
12 hours ago
FILE - Franco-Comoran Bahia Bakari stands in a courthouse in Paris, France, on May 9, 2022. Bahia B...
Associated Press

Lone survivor of 2009 plane crash testifies in Paris court

PARIS (AP) — The lone survivor of a 2009 plane crash in the Indian Ocean took the stand Monday in a Paris courtroom, recounting her ordeal as a 12-year-old girl hearing screams, clinging to floating debris and desperately hoping that her mother was still alive. Bahia Bakari’s mother was among 152 people who died on […]
12 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Christina O’Haver

Stroke month: Experts call attention to stroke prevention

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
By Dr. Richard Carmona

Now’s a great time to receive your COVID-19 vaccine

If you haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine yet, now’s the time to join many other of your fellow Arizonans who are doing so right now. No one will criticize you; there is no shame. In fact, you’ll be welcomed with smiles and open arms!
Brazilian groups want direct access to U.S. forest funding