Brazil’s Agriculture Sector Is Responsible for 9.8% of Global Agricultural Emissions

According to the Climate Trace inventory, Brazil’s agriculture sector emitted 2021 1.35 billion tons of CO2e20, which corresponds to 9.8% of the total global emissions of the sector. Enteric ferment represents 79.11% of the agricultural sector’s emissions.

Compared to the data from Brazil’s Climate Observatory, a national source with reliable accuracy shows that in 2021 the agricultural sector emitted 600,759,214 CO2e (t) GWP-AR5, with enteric fermentation leading with 382,567,499 CO2e (t) GWP-AR5, or 63% of the information. Although there is a difference between the sources, the fact remains that enteric fermentation deserves attention.

The Climate Observatory makes an important strategic recommendation, which is to integrate the Brazilian System with other environmental monitoring systems such as the systems of the Federal Government.

The Climate Observatory also presents important information about methane use in Brazil such as:

  • Brazil is the fifth largest emitter of methane in the world. Alone it emits the equivalent of 5.5% of the planet’s methane, while the country’s share in overall greenhouse gas emissions is 3.3%.

Both the agriculture and cattle-raising sectors are the largest methane emitters in Brazil, responsible for 14.54 million tons in 2020, or 71.8% of emissions. Livestock activity accounts for 91.6% of the sector’s emissions (13.32 Mt CH4), resulting mainly from enteric fermentation of the cattle herd (the ox “burp”), followed by animal waste management (0.85 Mt CH4) with 5.8%. Agricultural activity has 2.6%, resulting from the cultivation of irrigated rice (0.37 Mt CH4) and the burning of sugar cane waste (0.008 Mt CH4).


The Climate Observatory proposed methane mitigation strategies for the beef and dairy cattle herd through the adoption of intensive finishing (IT), animal genetic improvement (AGM), rumen fermentation manipulation and animal diet improvement.

For emissions from animal waste management, the mitigation strategy is based on the replacement of less efficient waste treatment systems with more efficient technologies, with lower methane generation by system treatment and waste conditioning, such as the use of digesters and composting by the cattle and pig herd. The proposed strategy for emission from irrigated rice cultivation is based on better management of pre-planting soil preparation and irrigation management, without the cultivated areas remaining constantly flooded.

For the burning of sugarcane residues, the strategy was based on the adoption of the practice of mechanized harvesting, which has already reduced emissions from this activity by 80% in recent decades.


With the current management practices and emission trends of recent years, it is expected that in 2030 the sector’s emissions will increase by 5.6%, reaching 15.37 Mt CH4. With the adoption of these mitigation strategies for livestock and agricultural activities, it is possible to obtain up to a 30% reduction in emissions, reaching an achievable emission of 10.17 Mt CH4.

However, by leveraging its comparative advantages, the country could become the first major economy in the world to sequester more greenhouse gases than it emits, going carbon negative as early as 2045. Brazil, as the sixth largest emitter on the planet, has a great responsibility in cutting greenhouse gases.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Brazil Country Manager Carlos Alexandre de Oliveira


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