Latin America and the Caribbean Stand Firmly beside Brazil
By María Laura Mazza
Environment Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean
this weekend unanimously backed the energy initiative submitted
by Brazil which commits the world to obtain 10 percent of
its fuel needs from clean renewable energy sources by 2010.
The proposal by Brazil contrasts with the initiative of the
European Union which wants the world to get 15 percent of
its energy from renewables by 2010, but with an increase of
just 2 percent for the industrialized countries which presently
use only 5.6 percent of clean energy and are at the same time
the biggest polluters.
The United States, which emits 25 percent of all toxic emissions
globally "was very cost conscious" in the discussion
at the ministerial plenary session and refused to agree to
world clean energy goals. Iinstead, it suggested Type 2 proposals,
which are voluntary, Brazilian Environment Minister Jose Carlos
Carvalho told Tierramerica.
The proposal presented on Saturday "is a very important
document in terms of creating a mechanism for closer cooperation
and sharing of experiences in the Latin American and Caribbean
region, and in terms of our position in the international
debate as well," added Carvalho.
The Group of 77, of which Brazil is a member, also agreed
in principle with setting energy, water and sanitation targets,
although there were differences within the bloc.
Both the European Union and the United States offered, in
Johannesburg, to invest in water and sanitation projects in
developing countries in exchange for not setting global targets
on clean energy, essential for halting or reversing global
warming, which is caused by greenhouse gases created by the
burning of fossil fuels.
Environment ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean
also urged those countries that have not yet ratified the
Kyoto Protocol to do so as soon as possible, "particularly
the ones that are the biggest producers of greenhouse gases."
Similarly, the ministers called for "compliance by developed
countries with their pledge to set aside 0.7 percent of gross
national product to official development aid."
The regional initiative reaffirmed positions adopted at the
Rio Summit, namely to eradicate social inequality, introduce
an environmental dimension into economic calculations, fortify
technical and vocational training institutions and promote
the development of human resources. (end)