As mentioned in previous Climate Scorecard reports (1), the current Brazilian government is not doing much to mitigate climate change. Just last year several environmental policies had their funding diminished or were abolished entirely. These policy setbacks contributed to rising GHG emissions in the country, which increased by over 100% when compared to 1990 levels and by 9.56% when compared to 2018 levels.
In this context, the implementation and enforcement of environmental policies is a big challenge that needs urgent action. And that is especially true for land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) policies, as they represent over 60% of Brazilian emissions according to SEEG. With that in mind, there are 2 policies in the LULUCF scope that already exist and, if fully implemented, could be an efficient way to reverse the country’s worsening climate scenario.
Policy Recommendation # 1 – Educate Farmers About How to Access the ABC Plan’s Low Interest Climate Friendly Line of Credit
The Brazilian plan for low-carbon emissions – the ABC Plan – was created in 2010 with the intent to transform Brazilian agribusiness into a positive benchmark for low carbon emissions in the country. The policy seeks to promote practices that are both low in emissions and bring profits to producers by acting on 7 different agricultural fronts, outlined in the table below.
|1) Recovery of Degraded Pastures||a. Recover 15 million hectares of degraded pastures|
b. Mitigate 83 to 104 million tons of carbon equivalent (tCO2eq).
|2010 – 2018|
a. 4.46 million hectares of degraded pastures were recovered (30% of the target)
b. 16.9 million tCO2eq mitigated (18% of the target).
|2) Crop-Livestock-Forest Integration (iLPF) and Agroforestry Systems (SAFs)||a. Promote the use of ILPF in 4 million hectares of land|
b. Mitigate 18 million to 22 million tCO2eq
|2010 – 2016|
a. 5.83 million hectares were converted into iLPF (146% of the target)
b. 22.11 million tCO2eq mitigated (111% of the target).
|3) No-Tillage System (SPD)||a. Adopt 8 million hectares of SPD|
b. Mitigate 16 million to 20 million tCO2eq
|2010 – 2016|
a. 9.97 million hectares were planted in SPD (125% of the target)
b. 18.25 million tCO2eq mitigated (101% of the target).
|4) Biological Nitrogen Fixation (FBN)||a. Adopt FBN in 5.5 million hectares|
b. Mitigate 10 million tCO2eq.
|2010 – 2016|
a. 9.97 million hectares were planted using FBN (181% of the target)
b.18.25 million tCO2eq mitigated (182% of the target).
|5) Planted forests||a. Encourage the planting of 3 million hectares of economic forests|
b. Mitigate 8 to 10 million tCO2eq.
|2010 – 2018|
a.1.1 million hectares of forests were planted (37% of the target)
b. 2 million tCO2eq (25% of the target) were mitigated.
|6) Animal Waste Treatment||a. Stimulate the treatment of 4.4 million cubic meters of animal waste|
b. Contribute to the mitigation of 6.9 million t CO2eq.
|2010 – 2018|
a. 1.7 million cubic meters of swine solid waste were treated (39% of the target),
b. 2.67 million tCO2eq mitigated (39% of the target).
|7) Adaptation to Climate Change||NA||NA|
Source: WRI and MAPA (2)
Although it did not reach its targets on all the plan’s areas, MAPA, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply, decided to renew the plan in 2020 and adjust the targets based on the former results analyzed.
Another key feature of the plan is the availability of a credit line with a low interest rate for farmers and companies that choose to implement and monitor those best practices for low carbon emissions. The credit line creates a financial incentive for farmers to put effort into the initiative. According to the World Resources Institute, more than 17 Billion BRL in credit has been provided for financing sustainable agricultural projects since 2010. Currently the program seeks to offer 2.5 Billion BRL to fund sustainable agricultural techniques for the 2020-2021 harvest (3).
The implementation of this plan for low carbon agriculture is essential since agriculture emissions accounted for approximately 36% of Brazilian emissions and 1.09% of the entire world’s emissions, according to WRI in 2017 (4). Thus, further developing and financing the “ABC Plan” is an urgent matter in fighting the rise in Brazilian emissions.
According to a report by WRI, a huge obstacle for the plan’s full implementation is the producer’s lack of knowledge about the plan and how to implement low carbon technologies. In this matter, it is key that enough resources are spent on educating the producers on the plan and its benefits.
Policy Recommendation # 2 – Strengthen the Planaveg Program Through Increased Funding and Better monitoring and Evaluation
Planaveg is a Brazilian Government program, launched in 2017, that aims to recover at least 12 million hectares of native vegetation from permanent preservation areas (APPs), legal reserves (RL), and degraded land with low agricultural potential (5).
The plan is a key policy within Brazilian forest and land preservation initiatives because it is considered, by the government, to be the main instrument to comply with the Paris Agreement pledge they signed promising to restore at least 12 million hectares* of land by 2030. Besides the positive environmental impact, native vegetation recovery can bring about social and economic benefits to Brazil by generating jobs and helping producers adapt so as to grow more resilient and productive crops (6).
According to the Federal Government, Planaveg will be implemented and monitored by Conaveg, the National Commission for the Recovery of Native Vegetation. Moreover, the program’s funding can come both from the general budget from the federal government, as well as national financial institutions, public funds, and cooperation with the private sector (5).
Although the program can yield big results in terms of climate mitigation, it has to overcome two main challenges. The first is to get enough funding to implement and monitor land restoration. The second is to effectively ensure its progress since there is a high complexity to measure and monitor the reforestation of native land in such a large territory.
Those challenges can be mitigated by partnerships made between the government, knowledge centers, and the private sector. The World Resource Institute, and their New Economy for Brazil initiative—in partnership with several institutions including Coppe-UFRJ , CPI , Ipea , Febraban , PUC-Rio, CEBDS, and the New Climate Economy initiative—are working to overcome those challenges by promoting studies and developing technical knowledge on the matter (7).
LULUCF Policies are Key
In conclusion, strengthening both the ABC Plan and Planaveg policies is essential to reducing Brazil’s GHG emissions. Both of these policies aim to reduce emissions related to the critically important areas of land use and deforestation (LULUCF). They can be an effective and efficient way for the current government to kickstart much-needed climate mitigation in the country.
Mr. Ricardo Salles, Ministry of Environment
Phone: (61) 2028-1057/1289/1422
Address: Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco B, 5º andar, 70068-900 – Brasília – DF
Visit WRI Brazil – Forest conservation could reduce carbon emissions as much as eliminating all cars on Earth, to learn more about the importance of forests in climate mitigation.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Brazil Country Manager Elis Cotosky