Brazil refuses to join pledge to end deforestation

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Para State, Brazil deforestation 2004Image source, Greenpeace
Image caption,
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon can be caused by large-scale farming

Brazil has refused to sign up to a pact setting a deadline for ending deforestation entirely by 2030.

The US, Canada and European Union nations were among 30 states that agreed to halve forest loss by 2020 and work towards a 2030 goal.

But Brazil, which owns the largest continuous rainforest on the planet, refused to sign because it could contravene national law.

UN officials said they hoped the pact would be adopted in 2015.

The Brazilian environment minister, Isabella Teixeira told Associated Press, "unfortunately, we were not consulted. "

"But I think that it's impossible to think that you can have a global forest initiative without Brazil on board. It doesn't make sense."

The minister said her government was concerned the new resolution could clash with Brazil's national laws, which allow for managed felling.

She said Brazil had set its own goal of slowing the pace of deforestation to 3,900 sq km (1,500 square miles) annually by 2020.

That would be down from about 5,843 sq km (2,256 square miles) in the period August 2012-July 2013, when Brazil made its last satellite survey.

Ms Teixeira made it clear that Brazil was committed to protecting the Amazon rainforest - considered a key natural defence against climate change because of its capacity of absorbing huge amounts of carbon dioxide.

The signatories also promised to restore more than 1 million sq miles (2.6 million sq km) of forest worldwide.

Norway vowed to spend $350m (£215m) to protect forests in Peru, with another $100m in Liberia.