Brazil’s President Has Committed the Country to Become Carbon Neutral by 2050

Brazil’s President Has Committed the Country to Become Carbon Neutral by 2050

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Brazil Country Manager Elis Cotosky


The most recent Brazilian GHG emissions data is from 2019, and it is provided by SEEG Brazil.1 The emission estimates are built according to IPCC guidelines, and are based on two main data points:

  • The framework of the Brazilian Inventories of Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals published by the MCTI (Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation)
  • Data from government reports, institutes, research centers, sector entities, and non-governmental organizations

As it is possible to see in the graph below, Brazilian emissions reached their highest level in 2003 – three Gigatons of CO2 eq – driven mostly by LULUCF. After that period, anti-deforestation policies allowed for a decrease in almost half of the emissions, reaching the lowest point in 2010, with 1.7 Gigatons. In 2019, the most recent data point, we can see an increase in emission levels, mostly related to the reduction of deforestation monitoring and control in the country, as the strictness of the policies on this topic was diminished by the current government.2

Figure 1 – Total Brazilian Emissions – 1990-2019

Brazilian Commitments for GHG emission reduction

At the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, has stated that the country is committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, anticipating in 10 years the pledge made on the country’s 2020 NDC.3

Although the country’s government has not issued a comprehensive plan on how to achieve neutrality by 2050, it has stated that reducing LULUCF emissions will be key to reaching the goal. Thus, one of the key strategies to become carbon neutral by the 2050 deadline will be to end illegal deforestation by 2030, as the LULUCF is the biggest source of emissions in the country.4 According to the President’s speech at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, this will reduce up to 50% of the current emission levels.

Brazil has submitted its NDC pledge in December 2020 intending to reduce total net emissions by 37% until 2025 and up to 43% until 2030. When compared to the 2015 pledge, those numbers show a reduction in the commitment level from the country.

Even though in terms of percentage both the 2015 and the 2020 pledge show the same targets, the 2005 baseline considered on both years was not the same. For 2020, the country used a more accurate emission estimate technique, which increased net emissions for the baseline year, going from 2.1 GtCO2e to 2.8 GTCO2e. Thus, when applying the same reduction percentage for a higher baseline emission level, the 2020 pledge is less ambitious than the one made five years earlier.5

To maintain the 2015 commitment, Brazil would have had to have updated the target to follow the baseline adjustment, proposing a 57% reduction until 2030, but this did not happen.6

Moreover, on the 2020 NDC pledge, Brazil aimed for reaching Carbon neutrality in 2060, which contradicts the president’s recent speech at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, this April, when Bolsonaro claimed that the aim would be reaching neutrality by 2050. On this point, it is essential to make the President accountable for his commitments and make sure he follows through with the expectations of updating the Brazilian


Mr. Ricardo Salles, Ministry of Environment

Phone: (61) 2028-1057/1289/1422

Address: Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco B, 5º andar, 70068-900 – Brasília – DF

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 Image: Andre Dib


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