BRASILIA Germany and Brazil committed themselves on Thursday to a joint stance on climate change, putting the largest economies in Europe and Latin America on the same page ahead of global climate talks in Paris in December.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff focused mainly on environmental cooperation during a 24-hour visit by the German leader that was also aimed at boosting trade and investment in Brazil's stagnant economy.
"We agreed on common actions to deal with one of the most important challenges of the 21st Century," Rousseff said.
She said Brazil is committed to reducing deforestation in the Amazon to zero by 2030.
Rousseff declared Brazilian support for decarbonizing the global economy by the end of the century, an announcement environmental activists said would boost hopes for such a target being agreed to in Paris.
The COP-21 meeting will seek a binding agreement on how to share the burden of capping global warming at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels or lower.
"As the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter, Brazilian support is crucial if the world is going to call time on the age of fossil fuels in Paris," said Iain Keith, of the Avaaz campaign network. "Now we need to see Brazil spelling out how precisely it intends to do this," he said in a statement.
Putting money behind its commitment, the German government announced 550 million euros ($615.78 million) in financing for environmental and clean energy programs in Brazil.
Germany's Development Ministry will provide Brazil 525 million euros ($588 million) in loans to fund the development of renewable energy sources and to preserve tropical forests.
Germany also donated 23 million euros ($25.7 million) to help Brazil establish a rural land registry aimed at enhanced monitoring of deforestation.
($1 = 0.8932 euros)
(Editing by Dan Grebler, Bernard Orr)