From: Raymond Colitt, Reuters, BRASILIA
Published December 2, 2010 06:56 AM

Amazon deforestation slows in Brazil

Deforestation in the Amazon forest fell to its lowest level on record, the Brazilian government said on Wednesday, marking what could be a watershed in the conservation of the world's largest rain forest.

The figures coincide with a United Nations global climate conference in Mexico. There, Brazil wants to showcase it is one of the few major economies significantly slashing its greenhouse gas emissions, which for it come mostly from burning or rotting trees.


"We will honor the pledge we made and we don't need any favors. We do it because it's our obligation," said President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, adding that the developed world was failing to agree to ambitious cuts in greenhouse gases and was not transparent about financial aid to developing nations.

Deforestation fell to around 2,509 square miles (6,500 sq km) in the 12 months through July 2010, down 14 percent from the year before and a peak of 11,235 square miles (29,100 sq km) in the mid-1990s. It is the lowest rate since the series began in 1988.

Lula criticized industrial nations for lacking commitment to cut greenhouse gases, saying it was disappointing that almost no heads of state would attend the Cancun summit.

"It won't lead to anything," he said during a ceremony in Brasilia.

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