It's rare we hear good news about the environment. But, while the rest of us have been squabbling over carbon emissions and climate change, Brazil has been quietly putting ideas into action. Deforestation has dropped by 75% in the last 20 years, and it is due not to one single solution, but continued campaign by Brazilian and politicians, international organisations such as Greenpeace and most of all, by the people on the ground. Moratoriums on produce such as beef and soya bean from illegally cleared land may have been the biggest driving factor, but underlying regulatory change has also been important. And by reducing deforestation, Brazil has maintained a huge carbon sink that can ameliorate carbon emissions and climate change.
The rest of the World can learn a thing or two from Brazil's recent successes in slowing deforestation. But they are not in the clear yet, and the upkeep of land registries and moratoriums is key if they are to keep to their newly turned leaf.
Over the past decade, while the world has been busy haggling over future commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, Brazil has lowered its carbon dioxide output more than any other country through a historic effort to slow forest loss. The deforestation rate here last year was roughly 75% below the average for 1996 to 2005 — just shy of Brazil's pledge to achieve an 80% reduction by 2020. The country has managed this feat while increasing the amount of food it produces, much of it for export to a growing and hungry world.