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Brazil hits climate change target three years early


Forest emissions in the Amazon and Cerrado fell between 2016 and 2017. Brazil had to reach targets submitted to Climate Change Convention by 2020
published: Aug 09, 2018 06:13 PM last modified: Sep 05, 2018 07:51 PM
Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

Brazil has reduced carbon emission at a pace sufficient to anticipate meeting its voluntary international target for 2020 in relation to the Amazon and the Cerrado. Between 2016 and 2017, Brazil emitted 2.6 billion tonnes less of CO2, which was the result of actions focused on fighting deforestation in the two biomes, better managing protected areas and developing the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR).

The actions were undertaken to help achieve the target submitted by Brazil to the UN for 2020 The target provided for a 564-million-tonne reduction in carbon dioxide emissions through lowered deforestation in the Amazon, as well as a 104-million-tonne decrease in carbon dioxide emissions through reduced deforestation in the Cerrado.

In 2017, results reached beyond the intended 2020 target. When considering only emissions associated with deforestation, according to the projections for 2020 (Decree No. 7,390 / 2010), the emissions cut achieved was of the order of 610 million tonnes of carbon dioxide for the Amazon and 170 million tonnes of carbon dioxide for the Cerrado. These projections are set out in Brazil's National Climate Change Policy (PNMC) and are included in the country's Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA), submitted to the Climate Convention in 2010.

The figures were reached by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment (MMA), with the support of the Brazilian Forestry Service (SFB), the National Indian Foundation (Funai) and the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio). They represent a significant contribution by Brazil to the worldwide effort of containing global warming. In all, the reduction achieved by Brazil in these two years is equivalent to the sum of the emissions of the five largest European economies - Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain. The comparison is based on official data reported by the five countries to the Climate Change Convention in 2016.

The Calculation

The numbers mean Brazil hit its voluntary international targets three years early in relation to reducing GHG emissions from deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado. The country had committed to reducing 668 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020, only with actions aimed at bringing down deforestation in the two biomes. However, it has already been able to reduce 781 million tonnes in CO2 emissions in 2017.

The numbers were calculated by comparing the difference between the PNMC projections for 2020 and official deforestation rates generated for the Amazon and Cerrado by the Legal Amazon Satellite Deforestation Monitoring Programme (PRODES) for 2016 and 2017. Removal rates were calculated using the removal factor adopted by the National Inventory for each of the Brazilian biomes. The Indigenous Land area factor was applied as informed by FUNAI, for Protected Areas as compiled by MMA and for Environmental Conversation and Legal Reserve protected areas, as available in SICAR. Removal factors used are biome specific and used by the MCTIC.

The Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) is the result of the government's efforts to strengthen instruments connected to the Forest Code. There are currently more than five million registered rural properties, meaning additional coverage for over 100 million hectares in permanent preservation (APP) and legal reserve (RL) protected areas.

When considering data on the removal of carbon dioxide from APPs and RLs in rural properties (not reported by the MCTIC), 277.5 million tonnes of CO2 were removed from the atmosphere in the 2016-2017 biennium, equivalent to almost all of Spain's emissions in 2016.

For the same 2016-2017 biennium, the removal of carbon dioxide from Indigenous Lands and Protected Areas amounted to 358 and 440 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, respectively.