Nature Blog Network Future Earth: Carbon Cha-cha-cha?

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Carbon Cha-cha-cha?

The Cha-cha-chá and a host of sensuous latin fusion dances diffused out from Latin America and created an enthusiastic following around the world. Please, Latin America, consider carbon-carbon-carbon at the regional World Economic Forum in Rio de Janeiro next week (14-16 April) and set the rest of the World dancing to your tune. The summit will address "Implications of the Global Economic Crisis for Latin America" as well as "other serious challenges, such as climate change". In the region that hosts the Amazon, this add on for climate and carbon issues is nothing like enough and leadership is needed, from the World Forum, from Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva who will open the meeting and from the other heads of state also part of the summit.

The forum has set up a climate task force, with business and "thought leaders". Worthwhile, but again, not enough, and possibly a distraction. It is focused on alternatives and adaptation - the 20%+ of the problem that could be solved by stopping deforestation and degradation is almost a throwaway line in the letter this group sent to the G20 leaders this week. Meanwhile, many of the companies listed are still looking to biofuels for renewable energy and ignoring the impacts on land use and natural habitats - thereby ignoring ecosystem services of water and biodiversity in addition to the carbon calculations.

Is "low carbon propserity" feasible? Certainly prosperity is a motivator, but so is survival and that has to take precedence. If the Amazon dies it is Giselle's "dance of death" that will be percolating out from the Americas to the rest of the world rather than the life-enhancing Cha-cha-chá.

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