Brazil’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 at COP 26 is contingent on slowing the rate of deforestation in the Amazon

At the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26) in November ‘21, Brazil announced the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. The Brazilian government expects that, in 2050, the country will not release carbon emissions into the atmosphere. It will become carbon neutral at that time.

The Ministry of the Environment presented guidelines for the strategic agenda focused on climate neutrality. Among the measures are:

  1. Zero illegal deforestation by 2028: 15% per year by 2024, 40% in 2025 and 2026, and 50% in 2027, compared to the year 2022
  2. Restore and reforest 18 million hectares of forests by 2030
  3. Achieve, in 2030, the participation of 45% to 50% of renewable energies in the composition of the energy matrix
  4. Recover 30 million hectares of degraded pastures
  5. Encourage the expansion of the railway network.

What do the critics say?

Brazil will exceed the CO2 emissions target established for 2030 by 137% if deforestation continues at the accelerated pace registered in the last four years.

The country currently emits 1.8 billion tons of CO2 and will reach 3 billion in eight years if the destruction of forests is not contained. The consequences of global warming will be severe, warns the work according to a study conducted by the Instituto Clima e Sociedade (ICS) and Instituto Talanoa.

Scientists believe that if the country continues deforestation at the current pace, the Amazon (the main focus of deforestation) will be particularly impacted. The destroyed part of the forest will reach 25%. This point is considered irreversible and would initiate the savannization of the biome. Non-compliance with the goals established in the Paris Agreement may jeopardize the treaty itself and bring geopolitical problems to Brazil.

Brazil could become carbon negative as early as 2045

The Climate Observatory, a network of 73 civil society organizations, has outlined a vision for Brazil to go beyond carbon neutrality by 2050: leveraging its comparative advantages, potentially becoming the world’s first major economy to sequester more greenhouse gases than it emits, becoming carbon negative as early as 2045. This vision guides the Brazil 2045 strategy—Building an Environmental Power.

The fundamental premise of the work is that in 2023 the new President of the Republic would once again implement the Paris Agreement, putting Brazil on the path to realizing its destiny of being an environmental power.

The proposals formulated in the Climate Observatory vision are divided into eight main themes: 1. Climate policy and international agreements; 2. Prevention and control of deforestation; 3. Bioeconomy and agrosilvopastoral activities; 4. Climate justice; 5. Energy; 6. Biodiversity and coastal areas; 7. Industry and urban management; 8. Governance and financing of the national environmental policy.

For each of them, actions are considered priorities for the first cycle of the new government (2023–2024) and, among them, a subset of urgent proposals to be adopted in the first hundred days of government.

Most of them depend only on the political decision of the new president. There are 74 proposals for the first two years and 62 emergency actions for the first one hundred days.


Brazil has a policy framework for becoming a leader in reducing carbon emissions, having an enviable renewable energy matrix. First, however, the new government must resume Brazil’s commitment to protecting the environment.

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


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