Progress Report Mid-Way 2023
Rating D (Falling Behind)
Brazilian emissions of greenhouse gases have grown by 40% since the year the country decided to take action to fight them. The “lost decade” of the fight against global warming in the country is the subject of the tenth report analyzing Brazilian emissions by SEEG, the System of Estimates of Emissions and Removals of Greenhouse Gases by the Observatório do Clima (OC).
In 2010, when the country regulated the National Policy on Climate Change, the PNMC gross emissions of greenhouse gases were 1.7 billion tons. In 2021, the year of the last SEEG estimate, there were 2.4 billion.
Although the PNMC produced important innovations in the Brazilian legal system and created instruments for measuring emissions and combating climate change, from the point of view of the atmosphere, the 2010s were lost for Brazil,” states the OC document.
Most of the blame is on deforestation. Brazil was far from fulfilling the primary goal of the PNMC, to reduce the Amazon’s destruction rate by 80%. Compared to 2010, emissions from land use change grew 83% in Brazil.
But all sectors of the economy increased their emissions: the gross increase was 31% in waste (mainly garbage and sewage), 13% in industrial processes and product use, 17% in energy, and 12% in agriculture between 2010 and 2021.
In the energy sector, the period was marked by an intense “fossilization” of the electrical matrix with an increase in the number of fossil thermoelectric plants and an increase in the use of diesel in transport. The increase was not more significant only because of the massive entry of renewable sources, mainly wind and solar, into the electrical matrix and the growing use of biofuels in transport activities.
In agriculture, there was growth in the cattle herd and the consumption of fertilizers, increasing gross emissions. But carbon sequestration by well-managed soils in Brazil has increased. Today, agricultural soils already sequester twice as much carbon as they emit, but even today, they are not computed in official emissions inventories.
In 2021, Brazil should have started meeting its targets for 2025 and 2030 under the Paris Agreement, the so-called NDC, adopted in 2015. The target was to reduce emissions by 37% in 2025 compared to 2005. However, the last government did not devise a plan to comply with the NDC and made the target weaker through an accounting maneuver: it increased base year emissions without adjusting the percentages. The case went to court, and the Climate Observatory (OC) recommended that the new government at least adjust the base year percentages to leave it with the same level of ambitions as the original target.
As the UN Climate Panel summary report showed on March/23, the 2015 targets are insufficient to stabilize global warming at 1.5C, an objective that humanity needs to pursue if it wants to minimize present and future climate chaos.
Brazil must, therefore, once again update its NDC in order to make at least the 2030 target aligned with the objective of the climate agreement. Maintaining a rising emissions curve even after 11 years of the national law does not facilitate this necessary increase in ambition.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Brazil Country Manager Carlos Alexandre de Oliveira.