“We need a different campaign, not only to protect plants and animals … to get rich countries to reduce gas emissions,” he said.
Environment ministers from nearly 100 nations are meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss recent scientific findings that the burning of fossil fuels is likely to raise sea levels, cause more storms and shrink tropical forests such as the Amazon.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva,
China, too, blamed rich nations earlier on Tuesday for greenhouse gases that fuelled global warming and urged them to cut emissions.
Brazil is the world’s largest producer of ethanol, which is derived from sugar cane. It will invest $8.3bn in renewable fuels over the next four years.
Accelerating demand for fuel ethanol has encouraged investors to move into traditional coffee growing areas in Minas Gerais state in search of more land to plant sugar cane.
“No country is revolutionising its energy matrix as we are,” Lula said. “The so-called carbon credits they invented – so far, we haven’t seen a cent of that,” he added in reference to compensation for preserving carbon-absorbing forests.
The US government has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, which sets ambitious targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases. The US is responsible for one-quarter of the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide.
Brazil has repeatedly rejected proposals for international control over the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest source of fresh water and biodiversity.
Lula said Brazil had reduced deforestation in the Amazon by 52 per cent over the past three years. “There are few countries in the world that have the moral authority to talk about deforestation with Brazil,” Lula said.
Many analysts say a cyclical downturn in agriculture, not government policies, has slowed deforestation in the Amazon region. Still, an area the size of the US state of Connecticut is destroyed every year in the Amazon as loggers cut timber and farmers follow them to plant soybeans or rice.
Meanwhile, pressure on the UN secretary-general to call an emergency climate summit grew on Wednesday after some of the world’s worst polluters said they would be interested in attending.
Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, said in Nairobi that support for a summit has been expressed by Japan, Germany, China, India and a number of developing countries.
Climate change talks in December will seek a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, and Ban Ki-moon is being lobbied to call a crisis summit of world leaders to set ground rules for that meeting.
A study last week by leading scientists blamed human activities for accelerated warming and UN officials and campaigners hope the findings will spur governments to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
De Boer said: “The US energy secretary, while rejecting the notion of mandatory emission caps, has said he feels there should be a global response to climate change.
“I interpret that to mean we need a global discussion on how we move forward.”
In its starkest warning yet, the UN on Friday said warming may trigger more storms, floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising seas. It also said it was at least 90 per cent certain humans were to blame for most warming over the last 50 years.
Kyoto obliged 35 developed nations to cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least five per cent below 1990 levels, and the challenge for any successor treaty is to bring on board the US and rapidly growing economies such as China and India which were not bound by the original treaty.