Brazilian state aims at curbing climate change and global warming

Brazil's largest Amazon jungle state signed into law Tuesday legislation aimed at curbing global warming in an area bigger than France and Spain combined.

The new law in Amazonas state - the first of its kind in Brazil - calls for the creation of programs to educate students on climate change, establishes monthly stipends for families that reduce deforestation, offers tax incentives for companies to preserve the environment and promotes the use of clean energy sources.

The measures will be financed by a Climate Change Fund, which will be funded by the state as well as national and international financial institutions.

"The law represents our commitment to conservation and sustainable development," Gov. Eduardo Braga said in a statement posted on the state government's Web site.

The vast Amazonas state covers an area of about 1.58 million square kilometers (610,000 square miles), more than 90 percent of which is rain forest.

Brazil is home to the bulk of the world's largest remaining tropical wilderness.

Most of Brazil's greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation and burning in the rain forest, releasing about 5 percent of the world's total emissions, scientists say.

"This new law is a very important because it is the first time in Brazil something is being done to tackle global warming and climate change," Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Coordinator in Brazil, said by telephone. "It shows the way to achieve sustainable development without destroying the rainforest."

The new law was signed one day after President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said rich nations should pay poorer countries to preserve their forests because the rich are responsible for most of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Silva said he would propose during this week's Group of Eight summit in Germany that a fund be created to reward developing countries that reduce the rate at which they cut down their forests.