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Monday, 15 April 2013

EU beef, soy demand adds to Amazon destruction, says study

EU demand for Brazilian beef and soy is contributing to deforestation of the Amazon and rising CO2 emissions, says a report by the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) - an independent Oslo-based think tank-  published on 4th of April.
The authors estimated the CO2 emissions caused by deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon from 1990 to 2010 and correlated that with deforestation driven by demand for land for cattle and soybeans. A total of 2.7 billion tonnes of CO2, or 30% of the carbon emissions associated with deforestation in the last decade, was exported from Brazil. Of this, 29% were due to soybean production and 71% due to cattle ranching, said the study, which was funded by the Norwegian Research Council.
Over recent years, researchers have begun to reevaluate CO2 emissions, allocating them to countries where the products are consumed rather than produced. “With a consumption perspective, the share of responsibility for deforestation is divided among the global consumers. What, in one perspective is Brazil’s problem, is now a global problem”, Jonas Karstensen, the study's main author said.
The EU is aware of the issue, but does not consider trade restrictions as a viable solution for it. However, it mentions the possibility of working with the private sector in order to develop labeling schemes for sustainable ("deforestation free") agricultural production.
Over the past two decades, the share of emissions linked to beef and soybeans that was exported to Europe has fallen slightly: European consumption has gone from 7% to under 6% of Brazil's exported emissions from beef.
Also, emissions from European consumption of soybeans rose markedly between 1998 and 2004, coinciding with increased trade between the two regions, but has returned in recent years to its 1990 level of some 20%.

Source: Euractiv