Brazil should cut emissions by 81% by 2030, OC says
Civil society's proposal for the second national goal under the Paris Agreement is to limit net emissions to 400 million tons of CO2e, ending deforestation.
Brazil’s new NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) to the Paris Climate Agreement, to be submitted this year, should include the commitment to an 81% net emission reduction by 2030, when compared to 2005 levels. That would mean reaching the end of the next decade with an emission ceiling of 400 million tons of greenhouse gases, measured in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Brazil’s current net emission is about 1.6 billion tons of CO2e.
The proposal was presented on Tuesday (December 8) by Observatório do Clima (OC), a network of nearly 60 civil society organizations. It represents a significant and ambitious increase both in relation to Brazil’s initial NDC (37% reduction in net emissions compared to 2005 levels by the year 2025, or 1.3 billion net tons of CO2e), and in relation to the indicative target for the new Brazilian NDC (43% reduction by 2030, or 1.2 billion tons).
Such increased ambition is necessary to make the target compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5oC, as prescribed by the Paris Agreement. Today, the Brazilian target is considered “insufficient” to meet the goals of the climate treaty of limiting Earth’s warming to below 2°C or 1.5°C. If all countries had the same degree of ambition as Brazil, the world would face a 3°C rise in temperature by the end of this century.
This necessary increase in climate ambition is not up to Brazil alone. Even if the country is the 6th largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet, all major emitters need to raise their targets in order to avoid even more serious impacts than the ones people, ecosystems and the economy are currently facing. The proposal presented today by OC is Brazil’s fair share of the obligation to contribute to a world with more climate security.
In addition to the reduction of target emission, OC also proposes that Brazil adopt a series of public policies that facilitate compliance with the commitment, including:
- to eliminate deforestation in all biomes by 2030;
- to restore 14 million hectares of legal reserves and permanent preservation areas between 2021 and 2030;
- to restore and recover 27 thousand hectares of apicuns (salt marshes and tidal flats) and mangrove areas between 2021 and 2030;
- to recover 23 million hectares of degraded pasture between 2021 and 2030;
- to implement 13 million hectares of integrated crop-livestock-forest (LPF) systems between 2021 and 2030;
- to have 80% of Brazil’s crop areas cultivated under a no-till system by 2030;
- to increase by 2 million hectares the area of planted forests in the period between 2021 and 2030;
- to reach at least 106 Gigawatts of installed electricity capacity generated by solar, wind and biomass sources by 2030;
- to increase the addition to biodiesel to petroleum diesel (B20) to at least 20% by 2030;
- to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies by 2030;
- to eliminate the adoption of new urban passenger vehicles powered by diesel engines by 2030;
- to ensure the diversion of at least 8.1% of all organic waste from landfills in the country by 2030;
- to recycle at least 12.5% of all paper from household waste by 2030;
- to recover or burn at least 50% of all biogas generated in landfills;
- to eradicate all landfills in the country by 2024.
The NDC also addresses adaptation actions – which are increasingly urgent in light of the irreversible impacts that have been caused by climate change, including extreme events, mainly on coastal cities and areas of the country. The network calls for the National Adaptation Plan, whose implementation was abandoned by the current administration, to be updated in 2021 and for adaptation policies to take into account new science-based recommendations on terrestrial and marine ecosystems, in addition to incorporating actions to increase resilience for women and vulnerable populations. In this sense, the processes of demarcation of 237 indigenous lands and the issue of ownership titles to 1,175 quilombola territories must be completed.
The Observatório do Clima’s proposal aims to inform Brazilian society and the international community about what the country could deliver in terms of commitment, should the government take scientific recommendations seriously in order to limit global warming.
Under the Paris Agreement, Brazil must submit to the United Nations Climate Convention (UNFCCC) a new NDC, valid until 2030. In 2015, when the treaty was signed, the country proposed a goal for the year 2025. According to the agreement, countries that have NDCs by 2025 (which is only Brazil and the US, which left the Paris Agreement) must submit a new NDC to the convention by December 31 of this year. It is uncertain whether the Brazilian government will do so and with what degree of ambition.
To calculate the new target, the OC relied on the 2019 issue of Unep’s Emissions Gap Report. The annual report estimates the difference between the sum of countries’ emissions reduction pledged under in the Climate Agreement and what needs to be done to achieve the Paris goals. According to the report, the cap for global emissions by 2030 that would be compatible with a trajectory that ensures at least 66% chances of limiting global warming to below 2°C by the end of this century, is 41 GtCO2e in 2030. However, for global warming to be limited to 1.5°C, global emissions in 2030 must be restricted to 25 GtCO2e, which is 39% lower than emissions compatible with a 2°C global warming by 2100. The figure of 400 million tons of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) represents a fair effort, compatible with Brazil’s responsibility and capacity, to achieve this goal.
This is the second NDC proposal submitted by the OC. In 2015, the network prepared the first civil society NDC in the world, recommending that Brazil adopted an absolute reduction target that would bring the country to a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 1 billion tons.
The current proposal has an important difference when compared to the one submitted in 2015. The previous target was calculated without taking into account the so-called carbon removal from the atmosphere by protected areas. This is a “deflator” index applied by the government when reporting emissions from Brazil. The Climate Convention authorizes anthropic removals to be taken into account and the Brazilian government argues that, since maintaining conservation units and indigenous lands requires efforts of demarcation and inspection, the carbon sequestered by its forests corresponds to “anthropic” removal.
This time, in order to ensure that OC’s target is comparable to the official Brazilian NDC, removals corresponding to protected areas were considered. Other removals were also accounted for, corresponding to secondary forests and managed soil. Today removals from managed soil are not considered in Brazilian emissions inventories, but they should be, as they are a measure of the success of the ABC Plan, one of the few emission reduction policies that were not dismantled under the Bolsonaro administration.
“We made a proposal for the country, pointing the way of what is necessary and possible to do for the climate with justice, equity and without sacrifice. A proposal that would put us in the place we should be; leading the environment agenda globally. With that, we also show that Brazil is much bigger than Jair Bolsonaro. Although we have a negationist government, we want to affirm that Brazilians take the Paris Agreement seriously”, said Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of Observatório do Clima.
“Just as we did in 2015, we are raising the bar on Brazil’s ambition. This is necessary and urgent, because the world is entering a new normal in terms of combating emissions. Several countries are already signaling that they will zero their net emissions by 2050. Increased ambition in climate targets is becoming a competitive benchmark on the global stage this century and Brazil, if it continues to stand still, faces the risk of overlooking yet another historic opportunity to pursue development while, at the same time, providing security to its population”, said Tasso Azevedo, technical coordinator of Observatório do Clima.
About the Observatório do Clima: a network formed in 2002, composed of nearly 60 non-governmental organizations and social movements. It fosters progress of dialogue, public policies and decision-making processes on climate change in the country and globally. Website: www.oc.eco.br
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