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Brazil Cut Its Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels Lower Than 2020 Emission Goals

The 2020 emission goals were set out in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord to combat climate change. Under the more ambitious Paris Agreement in 2015 on climate change, Brazil has set goals for further steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions for 2025 and 2030.

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Deforestation, Brazil
Brazil Surpasses 2020 Target to Cut Deforestation Emissions. Flickr

Brazil cut its greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation in 2017 to levels below its internationally agreed 2020 climate change targets, the country’s Environment Ministry said Thursday.

Brazil reduced its emission from deforestation in the Amazon rainforest by 610 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), compared to its 2020 target of 564 million tons. In the Cerrado savanna, emissions were reduced 170 million tons of carbon dioxide versus a target of 104 million tons.

The Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest, and the Cerrado, South America’s biggest savanna, soak up vast amounts of carbon dioxide, and their preservation is seen as vital to the fight against climate change.

Brazil reduced its emission from deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Pixabay
Brazil reduced its emission from deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Pixabay

But destruction of the forest releases large quantities of CO2, one of the main greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Large-scale Amazon deforestation has made Brazil one of the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters, because of fires and the spread of agriculture and cattle ranching.

The 2020 emission goals were set out in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord to combat climate change. Under the more ambitious Paris Agreement in 2015 on climate change, Brazil has set goals for further steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions for 2025 and 2030.

Also Read: Nature in Danger: Deforestation Climbs High

“The policy message is that we can and should remain in the Paris Agreement (because) it is possible to effectively implement the commitments that have been made,” said Thiago Mendes, secretary of climate change in the Environment Ministry. (VOA)

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Brazil’s Carbon Emissions Stable as Clean Energy Sources Use ‘Offsets’ Deforestation

In contrast, emissions from the destruction of forests rose 3.6% to 845 million tons of CO2e, leading that source to increase its share

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Brazil, Carbon Emissions, Energy
FILE - The Amazon rainforest (L), bordered by deforested land prepared for the planting of soybeans, is pictured in this aerial photo taken over Mato Grosso state in western Brazil, Oct. 4, 2015. VOA

Brazil’s carbon emissions have remained stable despite an increase in deforestation because they were offset by a larger use of clean energy sources such as ethanol and wind power, a report said on Tuesday.

Brazilian emissions of gases blamed for global warming reached 1.939 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2018, 0.3% more than seen in 2017, according to SEEG, the most comprehensive study on the topic in the country.

Emissions from the energy sector fell 5% last year when compared to the previous year to 407 million tons of CO2e as renewable power continues to increase its share in the energy mix.

In contrast, emissions from the destruction of forests rose 3.6% to 845 million tons of CO2e, leading that source to increase its share in total Brazilian emissions to 44%, more than the combined participation of the industrial and energy sectors.

Brazil, Carbon Emissions, Energy
Brazilian emissions of gases blamed for global warming reached 1.939 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2018, 0.3% more than seen in 2017, according to SEEG. Pixabay

Clean energy contribution, however, is unlikely to avoid a larger carbon dioxide increase for 2019, as deforestation sharply increased this year to the highest level in a decade.

And while emissions were stable, there is no compensation for the losses to wildlife as hundreds of species are extinguished as fires rage.

The data places Brazil as number 7 in the ranking of the world’s largest emitters of heat-trapping gases, which is led by China followed by the United States and the European Union.

“Brazil should be in a much better position. Its energy matrix is getting even cleaner than it was. If it stopped deforestation, its emissions would be a third of that,” said Tasso Azevedo, the study’s coordinator.

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“There will be a significant increase,” said Ane Alencar, science director at Ipam, the organization collaborating with data on land use changes for the SEEG study.

Deforestation leads to some curious findings. Unlikely other countries where states with higher concentration of industries lead emissions numbers, in Brazil that ranking is led by Pará and Mato Grosso states, for example, countries partly located in the Amazon, with industrialized Sao Paulo state in a distant fourth place.

Livestock activity contributed to those states’ increase in emissions numbers, besides deforestation.

Brazil, Carbon Emissions, Energy
Emissions from the energy sector fell 5% last year when compared to the previous year to 407 million tons of CO2e as renewable power continues to increase its share in the energy mix. Pixabay

“There is a large difference in the origin of emissions in Brazil when compared to most countries,” said Ricardo Abramovay, an economist at the University of Sao Paulo.

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“While in countries such as United States and Japan a change to a society with less emissions will require large investments to modify production models and consumption habits, in Brazil we only need to cut deforestation, a very small investment,” he said. (VOA)