Brazil can’t stop deforestation without help, says minister

Brazil receives money from Germany and Norway to fight deforestation. (AFP)
Updated 09 December 2019

Brazil can’t stop deforestation without help, says minister

  • Deforestation in the 12 months through July reached the highest annual rate in 11 years

MADRID: Brazil can’t stop deforestation in the Amazon without the help of rich countries, the country’s environment minister said at the United Nations’ two-week climate change conference.

Ricardo Salles, who declined to set a target for limiting deforestation in the coming year, said in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press that his country is committed to reducing illegal activity, but needs the support of developed nations.

“We are willing to do whatever is necessary to do so, but we need that back up,” Salles said. 

“That back up was promised many years ago and we’re still expecting the rich countries to participate in a proper way. Proportional funds are really what are going to be needed for that task.”

While participating in the climate conference known as COP25, Salles is working to assure others of the environmental policies of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro has squabbled with some European leaders this year over his commitment to protecting the Amazon. 

He has worried environmental activists and others by criticizing Brazil’s environment regulator and by calling for more development in the Amazon region. 

He also accused activists groups, without evidence, of having set fires in that region to undermine his administration.

Deforestation in the 12 months through July reached the highest annual rate in 11 years. Brazil’s annual deforestation report released in November showed a nearly 30 percent jump from the prior year in the Amazon, which lost 3,769 square miles of forest.

Salles said developed nations should help Brazil on the basis of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement signed in 2015 on tackling the effects of climate change. The article says monetary compensation mechanisms must be created to help developing countries.

Brazil already receives money from wealthy nations, namely Germany and Norway, to fight deforestation in the vast Amazon rainforest. Norway alone has donated $1.2 billion to Brazil’s Amazon Fund since its creation in 2008.


China reports 17 new cases in viral pneumonia outbreak

Updated 19 January 2020

China reports 17 new cases in viral pneumonia outbreak

  • In total, 62 cases of the novel coronavirus have been identified in the city of Wuhan
  • At least a half-dozen countries in Asia and three US airports have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China

BEIJING: Seventeen more people in central China have been diagnosed with a new form of viral pneumonia that has killed two patients and placed other countries on alert as millions of Chinese travel for Lunar New Year holidays.
In total, 62 cases of the novel coronavirus have been identified in the city of Wuhan, where the virus appears to have originated. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported the new cases in a statement Sunday.
Nineteen of those individuals have been discharged from the hospital, while two men in their 60s — one with severe preexisting conditions — have died from the illness. Eight are in critical condition.
At least a half-dozen countries in Asia and three US airports have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China. The list includes Thailand and Japan, which have together reported three cases of the disease in people who had come from Wuhan.
In the most recently diagnosed group, ages ranged between 30 and 79, Wuhan’s health commission said. Their initial symptoms were fever and cough.
The health commission’s statement did not say whether these patients had visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which has been suspended after many infected individuals reported having either worked at or visited the venue.
Li Gang, director and chief physician of the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state broadcaster CCTV that “the infectivity of the new coronavirus is not strong.” Infectivity refers to how rapidly the virus may spread between individuals.
Most patients are experiencing mild symptoms, Li said, and no related cases have been found in more than 700 people who came into close contact with infected patients.
This “does not rule out the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission, but the risk of continuous human-to-human transmission is low,” Li said. “With the implementation of our various prevention and control measures, the epidemic can be prevented and controlled.”
The Chinese government is keen to avoid a repeat of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, another coronavirus that started in southern China in late 2002 and spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800 people.