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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)

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Carbon Emissions from World’s 20 Biggest Economies Rising

The report is the most comprehensive review of G20 countries' climate performance, mapping achievements and drawbacks in their efforts

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Carbon Emissions, World, Economies
These findings are detailed in the new Brown to Green Report 2019 published by the Climate Transparency partnership, an international research collaboration. Pixabay

Carbon emissions from the world’s 20 biggest economies, including India, are rising, and the countries have to increase their emission targets that will put them on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a report by Climate Transparency said on Monday.

To keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees goal within reach, G20 countries will have to increase their 2030 emission targets by 2020 and significantly scale up mitigation, adaptation and finance over the next decade.

The report also said that none of the G20 countries have plans that will help them achieve the target.

These findings are detailed in the new Brown to Green Report 2019 published by the Climate Transparency partnership, an international research collaboration.

Carbon Emissions, World, Economies
To keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees goal within reach, G20 countries will have to increase their 2030 emission targets by 2020 and significantly scale up mitigation, adaptation and finance over the next decade. Pixabay

The report is the most comprehensive review of G20 countries’ climate performance, mapping achievements and drawbacks in their efforts to reduce emissions, adapt to climate impacts and green the financial system.

Many of the current 2030 climate targets under the Paris Agreement (Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs) are too weak, with about half of the G20 countries projected to meet or overachieve their inadequate NDCs.

There is plenty of room for enhanced ambition among all G20 countries.

“Among the G20 countries, India has the most ambitious NDC. However, it still needs real action now to prepare the different sectors for stringent emission reductions,” The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Programme Director (Earth Science and Climate Change) R.R. Rashmi said.

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Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in G20 countries shot up by 1.8 per cent in 2018 due to rising energy demand, the report said.

Energy supply is not getting cleaner: despite a more than five per cent rise in G20 total renewable energy supply in 2018, the share of fossil fuels in the G20 energy mix remains at 82 per cent.

In 2018, G20 emissions in the power sector increased by 1.6 per cent. While renewables now account for 25.5 per cent of power generation, this is not sufficient to outweigh the growth of emissions from fossil fuel sources.

Coal needs to be phased out by 2030 in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and by 2040 globally, said the report.

Carbon Emissions, World, Economies
The report also said that none of the G20 countries have plans that will help them achieve the target. Pixabay

G20 transport emissions increased by 1.2 per cent in 2018. Low-carbon fuels accounted for less than six per cent of the fuel mix. They need to increase roughly 10 times by 2050 to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

G20 countries need to scale up their policies to ban new fossil fuel cars by 2035 at the latest, reduce emissions from freight transport to net-zero by 2050 and shift towards non-motorised and sustainable public transport.

Cutting government subsidies to the aviation sector, taxing jet fuel and using revenues to invest massively in new carbon free fuels would leverage huge emissions reductions and health benefits.

Also G20 emissions in the building sector grew more than in any other sector in 2018 (4.1 per cent). Retrofitting existing buildings challenges all G20 and especially OECD countries. New buildings have to be near zero-energy by 2020-25 to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.

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According to the report, G20 countries still provided more than $127 billion in fossil fuel subsidies in 2017. Subsidies have shown a decrease in nine G20 countries (partly due to falling fuel prices), but subsidies for natural gas infrastructure and production have remained stable or increased in many countries (despite lower prices).

“Just one year before the critical deadline the findings give us hope that countries will find the political will to commit to higher emission reduction targets in 2020 as they promised under the Paris Agreement,” said Alvaro Umana, the Co-Chair of Climate Transparency and former Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica.

In the power, India is currently investing most in renewable energy, while Brazil and Germany are the only G20 countries with long-term renewable energy strategies.

Brazil leads with 82.5 per cent renewables, while Saudi Arabia, South Korea and South Africa lag behind with shares of only 0-5 per cent.

A coal phase-out plan is needed in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the US.

In transport, Canada, France, Japan and Britain are leading in banning the sale of fossil fuel-based cars.

The emission intensity of the industry sector is the highest in Russia, India and China. At the same time, India and China are among the G20 countries with the most progressive energy efficiency policies. (IANS)