The Government of the Forests comes to California

At a private meeting in Sacramento last week, Governor Viana of Acre, Brazil met with California’s Governor Jerry Brown to discuss a shared vision for environmental sustainability coupled with social inclusion. Governor Viana leads one of the Amazon region’s most progressive states when it comes to promoting rural development while simultaneously reducing deforestation.

Governor Viana’s message was well received by both Governor Brown and, later in the day, by a larger discussion group comprised of members of the California EPA, academic and NGO communities.

The visit of Governor Viana and a delegation of Acre government, indigenous and sustainable business leaders to California, hosted by Earth Innovation Institute with the support of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, the Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy and Forest Trends, was aimed at educating Californians about the groundbreaking work Acre is doing to protect tropical forests while providing opportunity for the people who call them home.

The delegation shared their story not only in Sacramento, but also with members of the public during a screening of a short film about Acre’s SISA (state incentives for ecosystems services) program at the Brower Center in Berkeley, and at a meeting with the Google Earth team in Palo Alto.

Acre is being considered for linkage with California’s Cap and Trade program due to the fact that, while deforestation rates across the Amazon increased 24% in 2015, Acre’s rate of deforestation reduced 64% below its historical average. An amazing feat for a rural state with an economy 700 times smaller than California but the potential to match environmental leader California’s emissions reductions by 2020.