French President Nicolas Sarkozy has welcomed pledges from China and the US to cut CO2 emissions saying the targets they have set themselves are “extremely encouraging”.
He was speaking at a climate summit in the heart of the Amazon rainforest hosted by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Sarkozy proposed using some of the money – likely to be pledged at next month’s Copenhagen climate summit by the developed nations to tackle climate change – for preserving the rainforest.
“I propose that 20% of the donations be used to protect the forests, to prevent deforestation. So we shall use 20% of the immediate public credits to put an end to land clearance,” said Sarkozy.
High level delegates from the Amazon basin countries met in the heart of the jungle to forge a “common stance” on deforestation which, ecologists say, is reducing the planet’s capacity to absorb greenhouse gases.
The region is blighted by drought which is killing livestock and turning lush jungle to desert. As farmers seek to create fertile grazing lands, large swathes of the rainforest are being cut, back, burnt and cleared.
As the world’s fourth largest greenhouse gas producer, Brazil has promised to cut its CO2 emissions by up to 39 per cent by 2020.
In the jungle city of Manaus Greenpeace protesters reminded visiting politicians the ambitious target can only be achieved if deforestation is reduced by 80 per cent.