Brazil: The 2021 Climate Year in Review

Brazil: The 2021 Climate Year in Review


  • Deforestation Grew 22% Compared to 2020
  • Extreme Weather Events Including Floods and Droughts
  • An Updated Paris Agreement Pledge That Lacks the Necessary Ambition



Brazil experienced the following climate game changing events in 2021:

  • Deforestation and Wildfires

In 2021, Brazilian deforestation grew 22% compared to 2020, reaching the highest level since 2006. The most affected biomes were the Amazonian Rainforest and Cerrado, which accounted for a combined loss of 18 square kilometers of forest and emitted 200 million tons of carbon equivalent. Besides deforestation, wildfires also harmed the forests in Brazil, affecting mainly the biomes already mentioned.

The main activities that caused those results were: soy and livestock production, land settlements, and appropriation of public forest lands for private use. The consequences of these events include loss of biodiversity and reduction of the capacity to capture GHG gases.


  • Floods and Droughts

In 2021, the country also experienced extreme weather events, including floods and droughts. In the middle of the year, the region where the Amazon Rainforest is located was hit with the largest flood in 119 years, affecting more than 450 thousand people.

Moreover, droughts occurred in the Midwestern and Southeastern parts of the country between September 2020 to March 2021. According to the National Meteorology System (SNM), this was the worst drought in 100 years in those regions. The consequences of the drought include less crop productivity and less water input for energy generation in the hydroelectric plants. With that, the prices of food and energy went up.

Although the weather phenomenon called La Niña played a role in these events, environmental specialists claim that human action and global warming are already drivers of extreme weather in the country.

  • Low Ambition Commitment at COP26

The Brazilian presence at COP26 was very shy, and the commitments made were comparably worse than the ones made in 2015. They are still way below what is necessary for keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030. 

Brazil’s latest Paris Agreement pledge is to reduce carbon emissions by 37% by 2025, and 43% by 2030, as well as reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Although there are some initiatives for reaching the goal, such as the ABC Plan and Planaveg, the government does not have a concrete plan for reaching the committed reduction.

Moreover, according to the Climate Observatory, this pledge is not ambitious enough for staying below the 1.5 degree Celsius target. It would be necessary to pledge a reduction of 81% by 2030 to stay below the target. For that current and future governments must commit to reducing deforestation, recovering degraded forests and land, increasing technology and productivity in the agribusiness area, and implementing renewable energy.

The responsibility for this poor performance lies mainly with the incompetence and negligence of Brazil’s current government on environmental matters. The key consequence of this action is the loss of credibility in front of other countries and loss of possible investors that could support Brazil on its carbon neutrality path.

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



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