By not increasing Brazil’s climate ambitions, the country’s new NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) filed by the Bolsonaro government within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on April 7, 2022, goes against the Paris Agreement’s premises and hurts the Glasgow Climate Pact. Just the opposite, it presents less ambitious targets in relation to the 2015 binding commitment and maintains a higher level of emissions for this decade than the country’s original 2016 NDC.
Discourse versus Practice
Brazil’s new NDC further demonstrates the huge gap between Bolsonaro’s government’s discourse and what is actually being done regarding environmental and climate issues, which does not necessarily represent any surprise for those already following the dismantling of Brazilian environmental policy promoted by this current government, and especially the rise in the deforestation rates of the Amazon, with record after historical record being broken. In Brazil, most GHG emissions are linked to deforestation (46% of gross emissions) followed by agricultural activities (23%).
Data from the SAD (Deforestation Alert System), operated by Imazon (Amazon Institute of People and the Environment), indicate that, just in the month of April 2022, the Amazon lost 1,191 square kilometers of forest, which represents an increase of 54% in comparison with the same month in 2021 (778 square kilometers). With that, the region had its worst April since the historical series began to be recorded 15 years ago.
In practice, the new NDC allows Brazil to increase its emissions when compared to 2016, in other words, allowing more 314 million tons of CO2eq emissions for 2025 – a value equivalent to Poland’s annual emissions; and 81 million more tons of CO2eq emissions for 2030 – value equivalent to Colombia’s annual emissions. Those figures are included in a technical analysis carried out jointly by the Brazilian organizations Instituto Talanoa and Política por Inteiro. The country’s new NDC also does not contemplate the commitments undertaken by Brazil at the COP26, in Glasgow, such as halting deforestation and reducing methane gas emissions by 30%, both by 2030. Even so, it was approved on February 23rd by the Interministerial Committee on Climate Change and Green Growth (CIMV).
Pressure for More Ambition
The technical analysis also presented recommendations for Brazil to honor the commitments assumed at the UN, avoiding damage to the country’s global image and credibility. One of them is to adopt new, more ambitious targets with greenhouse gas emissions’ absolute reductions in relation to the new numbers presented, which would be translated into emission levels lower than 1.3 GtCO2eq in 2025, and 1.2 GtCO2eq in 2030. It also proposes resuming dialogue with the Civil Society and holding public consultations in all upcoming update rounds. It also indicates including the commitments already made in Glasgow, to Brazilian environmental policies, such as the Declaration on Forests and Land Use and the Global Methane Pledge, in the new NDC. Finally, it recommends the alignment by the Brazilian government of the short-term goals of the NDC and national policies with the goal of climate neutrality by 2050. The analysis is available here, and the graphics are self-explanatory.