November 20, 2019 / 7:20 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 2-Brazil seeks more funding to combat environmental destruction

(Adds comments from Salles, state governor)

By Lisandra Paraguassu and Jake Spring

BRASILIA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Brazil's plans for environmental protection remain unchanged even as deforestation skyrockets, but Environment Minister Ricardo Salles said on Wednesday the country was looking for more money to implement those plans.

Salles largely repeated previously announced plans to bring more development, economic zoning and improved enforcement of environmental laws to the Amazon rainforest region, where deforestation has surged to its highest point in 11 years.

The government will strive to reduce deforestation by the time annual figures are next announced in late 2020, Salles said, in a briefing alongside governors from states in the Amazon region. He did not give numerical targets or say when the proposed policies would be implemented.

But the country will seek more resources to enact those policies at the federal and state level, and would ask for additional funding for developing countries at the COP25 United Nations climate meeting in Madrid in December, Salles said.

Brazil has argued in the past that developed countries, which historically have emitted more greenhouse gases, should take more responsibility for fighting climate change, including financing efforts to curb emissions and adapt to the effects of global warming.

"Resources of considerable volume that are compatible with Amazon preservation should start flowing to developing countries," Salles said.

Under the structure of the Paris Agreement on climate change, developed economies have committed to mobilizing $100 billion annually in financing by 2020 to help developing countries tackle global warming, which Salles said has yet to materialize.

"What is Brazil's effective share of this $100 billion per year? We will see at this COP in Madrid from this amount, what is our share, our percentage of this $100 billion," Salles said.

Asked how other nations could be expected to give more money to Brazil when deforestation is on the rise, Salles countered that the country is still doing well in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Brazil's climate goals are calculated against a base year of 2005, when deforestation was much higher.

The environment ministry is also set to receive 230 million reais ($54.82 million) from a fund set up by Petroleo Brasileiro SA with the proceeds of a corruption settlement, Salles said, without saying how that money would be used.

Another 430 million reais from the fund will go to states. Flavio Dino, the governor of Maranhao state, said it would be used to stop environmental crimes and to "regularize" occupied land that exists in legal gray areas.

$1 = 4.1955 reais Reporting by Anthony Boadle, Lisandra Paraguassu and Jake Spring; editing by Diane Craft and Marguerita Choy

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