Climate change legislators in Brazil consider taxing airlines.


Associated Press

The G8+5 Legislator Forum met in Brasilia this week to push ahead on creating real solutions towards tackling the causes of climate change. Organised by Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), they hope to build consensus on how to attack global warming, then take the ideas home to try to gather broader support.

They include legislators from the Group of Eight industrial nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia and the United States — as well as fast-growing countries like China, Brazil, India, South Africa and Mexico. The draft document said an agreement on global warming “should support and encourage equitable contributions from developing economies” to reduce greenhouse gases.

BBC World Service reported that the legislators were looking at a global airline tax as a way of helping to fund the programmes necessary to bring about carbon reductions within developing economies.

Proposals in the draft document included a global carbon market in which nations would be able to trade and sell credits, sharp increases in funding for developing countries to reduce emissions and even a worldwide ban on incandescent light bulbs.

The delegates applauded when U.S. Rep. Edward Markey said the leading Republican and Democratic candidates — Sens. John McCain, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama — are arguing among themselves about who will do most to help the environment.

No matter who wins, “the United States will have a president committed to a mandatory carbon cap-and-trade program and to reaching an international agreement in Copenhagen in December of 2009,” said Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts.

Riots in Brazil

As the legislators met in Brazil a mob of 2-thousand people in the Brazilian state of Para burned tires, blocked roads and attacked federal agents who sought to crack down on illegal logging in the worlds largest Amazonian rainforest state, but officials vowed that riots would not halt law enforcement.

In the town of Tailandia, Brazil’s environmental protection agency abandoned efforts to audit logging companies and sawmills suspected of illegal logging, after angry mobs surrounded its workers and tried to invade one of the sawmills in a public revolt, the agency said on its website.

Four people were arrested and dozens injured when protestors working at the illegal facilities attacked the environment agents. Protestors blocked the main highway connecting the wood-cutting facilities to the city, by setting fires, sending large plumes of black smoke into the air. Younger protesters and riot police were seen exchanging rocks and tear gas in clashes that lasted around ten hours.

Despite opposition, Brazilian authorities pledged to resume its so-called “Guardians of the Amazon” crackdown on the illegal logging in the world’s biggest rain forest, environmental officials said. “We must work intelligently and legally, and we are willing to negotiate with people not with bandits,” Marina Silva, Brazil’s Environment Minister said.

Authorities warned they would not hesitate in tackling the issue by force. “We will send military forces to the Amazon if necessary. But, we will allow the federal police to handle this in the first place,” Tarso Genro, Brazilian Justice Minister said.

The crackdown began last week, when 130 environmental workers began inspecting Tailandia’s estimated 140 sawmills. Of 10 mills audited, five were fined for stocking lumber of unknown origin and for selling lumber without authorisation, the environmental agency said. It seized 13-thousand cubic meters (17,003 cubic yards) of illegal lumber, including top Brazilian hardwoods- enough to fill 640 trucks, the agency said.

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