Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Indigenous Brazilian tribe in the Amazon region owns carbon-trading rights

A new legal opinion from one of the world's largest law firms has found that a vulnerable Brazilian tribe in the Amazon region owns carbon-trading rights in future global warming deals, a development that could preserve vast areas of the rainforest.

The groundbreaking finding, said advocates, should apply to other indigenous groups in Brazil, home to 40 percent of the world's rainforests, representing a major step forward in protecting indigenous people's land rights.

The opinion on the carbon rights of the Surui tribe by international law firm Baker and McKenzie was commissioned by Forest Trends, a conservation group based in Washington, D.C., that works to protect forests around the world.

The significance of the finding, said Forest Trends officials, is that when climate change negotiators strike a new deal to reduce harmful emissions, indigenous groups such as the Surui won't be left behind-and, in fact, can benefit and help save vast swaths of the rainforest. Those protected forests will play a major role in absorbing carbon emissions, limiting the release of dangerous gases into the atmosphere.

"This really is a landmark opinion," said Michael Jenkins, President and CEO of Forest Trends. "What we have been able to demonstrate here is that there will be opportunity and a path forward for indigenous groups to participate in emerging markets from a global warming deal. In fact, the indigenous groups would now be part of the solution."

Over the last several years, many indigenous groups have expressed concern that a climate change deal would be yet another international agreement that eroded their rights.

In response, Forest Trends asked Baker and McKenzie to research whether Brazilian law would allow the Surui and other indigenous groups in Brazil to claim benefits under any deals involving the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) arrangements, now being considered as a centerpiece of global warming talks during the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Read more of this article here in Terra Daily News...........

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