Brazil could adopt greenhouse targets: Lula

BRASILIA (Reuters) - President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Wednesday Brazil was open to adopting targets for greenhouse gas emissions if rich countries did more to curb climate change.

A farmhouse sits on what was once thick Amazon jungle, as more forest is burned off to later plant grass for cattle pasture, 1,150 kms north of Brasilia near the city of Imperatriz, in this file photo. REUTERS/Rickey Rogers/Files

“Brazil should not be afraid of the challenge,” Lula told Reuters in an interview at the presidential residence in the capital Brasilia.

“That issue is not a taboo for us,” he added, saying that he may attend global climate talks scheduled for the end of this year in Copenhagen.

The U.N. talks comprise almost 200 nations, aiming for a deal to rein in warming that the U.N. Climate Panel says will cause more droughts, floods, crop failures, spread disease and raise sea levels.

Developing countries, however, should not be expected to make the same sharp emissions cuts as rich countries, Lula said.

“Rich countries, which are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, must do their part,” he said, urging all countries to sign the expiring Kyoto protocol on climate change.

“What we can’t accept is people who already have their car, a third television, a third house telling Brazilians to remain poor.”

Brazil relies heavily on clean hydroenergy and has begun to reduce Amazon destruction, which emits carbon as trees burn or decompose. Destruction of the world’s largest rain forest is the main contributor to Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are among the world’s largest.

Last year, Brazil abandoned years of opposition to deforestation targets and said it would reduce Amazon destruction by 50 percent in a decade.

Lula also said he would veto clauses in an Amazon land reform bill that would grant companies and non-residents land titles. The objective of the bill is to legalize land holdings of millions of people who settled in the Amazon in recent decades, but environmentalists have criticized it as a land giveaway that could spur more deforestation.

“We want to be an example to the world in taking care of our own things,” Lula said.

Reporting by Raymond Colitt and Todd Benson; editing by Stuart Grudgings and Eric Beech