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New targets set by Brazilian Ministry of the Environment for the Paris Agreement release more emissions, observes Climate Observatory

The network of civil organizations Climate Observatory analyzes the basis for calculating gas emissions used by the Ministry of the Environment and states that the new target is 400 million tons higher than the one proposed in 2015. On teh other hand, government says that Brazilian proposal ‘is one of the most ambitious in the world’.

The new climate target presented by Brazil to the Paris Agreement on Tuesday (8) will allow the country to reach 2030 emitting 400 million more tons of greenhouse gases than what was set in the original target, according to an analysis of the Climate Observatory.

The target was set in December 2015, when the Paris Agreement brought together countries that agreed to commit to the effort to limit global warming to 1.5ºC. Five years later, Brazil is delivering the renewal of the goals it has stipulated, but experts make warnings about it.

According to the executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, Marcio Astrini, the ministry maintained the same reduction target set five years ago: reducing emissions by 43% by 2030. However, he did not consider that the calculation basis used changed, making the amount of emissions allowed much bigger.

“The 2015 reduction target was based on the Second Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory. The current target is based on the Third Inventory, which updated the absolute value of the gases emitted in 2005 from 2.1 billion tons to 2.8 billion tons of gases emitted “- says Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory

“The 2005 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory is usually reviewed every 4 years, when a new inventory is published”, explains Tasso Azevedo, coordinator of MapBiomas and specialist at the Climate Observatory.

With the most recent revision, and the absolute value of gases emitted in 2005 adjusted from 2.1 billion tons to more than 2.8 billion tons, if in 2015 the 43% reduction target meant emitting 1.2 billion tons of gases by 2030, the new target presented by Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, with the same reduction rate, will now allow Brazil  to emit 1.6 billion tons in the same period.

“Without the adjustment in the calculation base, the new goal of the climate proposal is about 400 million tons of carbon higher than it was in 2015” – Marcio Astrini, from Climate Observatory.

For this reason, according to experts, to just maintain the climate goal already assumed by Brazil in the Paris Agreement, the Minister of the Environment should have committed to reduce 57% of emissions by 2030, instead of just 43%.

Renovation after 5 years

This month, completing five years of the Paris Agreement, all signatory countries are presenting new versions of the commitments already made in 2015.

In addition to the goal that stipulates a percentage reduction in emissions by 2030, Brazil still has another intermediary target: that of reaching 2025 with a reduction of 37% in relation to 2005 levels.

To achieve both the 2030 and 2025 targets, the government announced commitments such as taking to zero the illegal deforestation rate by 2030, reforesting 12 million hectares and ensuring 45% of renewable sources in the national energy matrix, but did not provide a detailed plan for how it will execute such ambitions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the technical name for Brazil’s goals in the Paris Agreement, is one of the most ambitious in the world.

“The Brazilian NDC is one of the most ambitious in the world due to four main characteristics. First, because it refers to absolute emissions, instead of to relative factors such as carbon intensity or historical growth trends, like most NDCs in developing countries. Second, because it refers to the entire economy, and not to specific sectors. Third, due to the magnitude of the targets (37% and 43%), which exceeds that of many developed countries. Fourth, because it includes an intermediate target for 2025, forcing the trajectory of reductions throughout the decade and not just in 2030 “, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Another ambition presented by Salles was to neutralize greenhouse gases emissions by 2060. This is not a goal, but an indicative date made by the Brazilian government.

The Climate Observatory pointed out that this ambition is ten years longer than the target of most countries in the Agreement, which are expected to close the balance of carbon dioxide emissions in 2050. In addition, the organization recalled that only China had a goal equal to that of Brazil.

“The announced NDC [target] is insufficient and immoral. The 43% reduction in emissions in 2030 doesn´t follow any of the Paris Agreement’s goals of limiting global warming to below 2 ° C or 1.5 ° C. It would take us to a world about 3 ° C warmer if all countries had the same ambition “- Climate Observatory, note on 8/12.

In the same document, the entity classified as blackmail the statement by the Environment Minister, Ricardo Salles, that the deadline for achieving carbon neutrality in the next 40 years may be brought forward if developed countries transfer US $ 10 billion annually to Brazilian projects, starting in 2021.

This is not the first time that Salles talks about asking rich countries for US $ 10 billion a year to invest in conservation actions in Brazil. In 2019, at the preparatory meetings for the International Climate Conference (COP 25) in Madrid, the minister cited the figure – which would correspond to 10% of the total amount provided in the Paris Agreement transfers from developed countries to underdeveloped countries.

Despite these statements, even the money that Brazil already receives from European countries is paralyzed. The Amazon Fund, one of the main instruments for these remittances, has been interdicted for over a year.

The Climate Observatory suggested that Brazil’s new Determined National Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Climate Agreement should commit to reducing net emissions by 81% by 2030 in 2005 levels.

According to the network, this reduction would mean reaching the end of the next decade emitting, at most, 400 million tons of greenhouse gases. Currently, Brazil’s net emission is about 1.6 billion tons of gases – the country is the sixth largest emitter of gases on the planet.

In addition to the goal of reducing emissions, the Climate Observatory also proposes that Brazil adopts a series of public policies that facilitate the fulfillment of the commitment, including:

Eliminate deforestation in all its biomes by 2030;

Restore 14 million hectares in areas of legal reserve and permanent preservation areas between 2021 and 2030;

Restore and recover 27 thousand hectares in apicuns and mangrove areas between 2021 and 2030;

Recover 23 million hectares of degraded pastures between 2021 and 2030;

Increase by 2 million hectares the area of planted forests in the period between 2021 and 2030;

Increase the mixture of biodiesel in petroleum diesel (B20) to at least 20% by 2030;

Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies by 2030;

Eliminate the entry into service of new urban passenger vehicles powered by diesel engines by 2030;

Recover or burn at least 50% of all biogas generated in landfills;

Eradicate all landfills in the country by 2024.

Main points of the Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. The text talks about maintaining the planet´s temperature with na elevation “well below 2°C” but “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 ° C”.

The main points of the Paris Agreement are:

Countries must work so that warming is well below 2ºC, seeking to limit it to 1.5ºC;

Rich countries must guarantee financing of US $ 100 billion per year;

There is no mention of the percentage of greenhouse gas emission cuts required;

The text does not determine when emissions need to stop rising;

The agreement must be reviewed every 5 years.

Advances in the agreement

The latest United Nations (UN) climate conference, COP 25, ended with the nearly 200 participating countries agreeing to present “more ambitious commitments” to reduce pollutant gas emissions.

But details on how this will be done will be settled only at COP 26, scheduled for November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The regulation of the carbon market foreseen in the text of the agreement, one of the most anticipated decisions of the meeting, was also postponed for next year.

Ricardo Salles argues that the market should be regulated, which, according to him, would bring more resources for investments in the environmental area in Brazil. After COP 25, the Environment Minister said that “COP 25 came to nothing”. “Rich countries don’t want to open their carbon credit markets. They demand measures and point the finger at the rest of the world, without ceremony, but when it comes to putting their hands in their pockets, they don’t want to”, says Salles in a social network.

Brazil’s performance at COP 25 focused on asking for resources from rich countries for preservation in Brazil. However, in the last days of the event, the country also staged an impasse over articles dealing with the participation of the oceans and the use of land in climate change.

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