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International Update Volume 41, Issue 12

BRAZIL FINES FOR DEFORESTATION; MAY BE HASTENING BIODIVERSITY LOSS

Brazil

Brazilian officials announced last week that the government would seek $1.2 billion in fines against over a dozen companies being investigated for buying beef from farms illegally deforesting or engaging in slave labor. The complaint also implicated Brazil's Institute for the Environment, which was accused of failing to supervise the companies. However, while Brazil has managed to reduce levels of deforestation by 70 percent since 2004, other areas of Brazil may have borne the brunt of the switch away from using deforested areas as grazing lands for livestock.

UK, EU CARBON TAX PROPOSALS UNDER FIRE, AUSTRALIA'S QUESTIONED BY BUSINESSES

Australia, EU, United Kingdom

Point Carbon analysts said that UK's plan to introduce a price floor for carbon emissions permits may harm business by introducing a £9.3 ($15) billion burden, but will likely cut emissions from the energy industry by 5.3 percent. The proposed floor will begin at £16 ($26) per metric ton in 2013 and rise to £30 ($49) per metric ton by 2030. However, according to Point Carbon, the price could rise to €54 ($78) per metric ton by 2020, while the rest of EU's Emissions Trading Scheme sees prices closer to €36 ($52).

CHINA TO INCREASE SHALE PRODUCTION; STUDY QUESTIONS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

China

The deputy director of China's Ministry of Land and Resources said that the country may begin shale gas production within the next five years to "meet rising demand for cleaner-burning fuels," according to Reuters. Deputy director Che Changbo said that China wants to triple the use of natural gas to help cut its reliance on coal. According to a U.S. Energy Department report, shale reserves in China that are "technically recoverable" stand at about 1,275 trillion cubic feet, about 19 percent of the world's 6,622 trillion and about 12 times the amount of conventional gas reserves.