Brazil could raise carbon emissions and still meet Paris climate change goal

Brazil pledged to reduce emissions 37 percent by 2025 and 43 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 numbers.

By: Reuters | Sao Paulo | Published:September 7, 2016 7:12 am
Brazil, Paris, Climate Change, Brazil carbon emission, Paris climate agreement, Paris climate change goal, latest news, world news Brazil is not ready to make changes to its pledges at this moment. (File)

Brazil could increase carbon emissions by up to 21 percent until 2030 and still meet its pledge under the 2015 Paris climate agreement to fight global warming, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The country based its goals on a version of its national inventory on greenhouse gas emissions that was available at the time, in 2014, a year before the Paris climate accord was reached. As a result, it would be easier for Brazil to reach the goals, according to the report by Climate Observatory, a non-profit, which is asking the government to quickly change its commitments.

New inventory data did not become available until this year.

“It would certainly create a large embarrassment for the country if adjustments are not made,” said Andre Ferretti, coordinator of Climate Observatory.

Brazil’s government said it was aware of the study, but that this is not the moment to make changes to the pledges.

“Both houses of Congress ratified the document. If we change it now we could create room for further discussions, which we don’t want at this moment,” Climate Change Secretary Everton Frask Lucero said.

He said the Paris agreement foresees timely revisions, which Brazil plans to do in the future.

Brazil pledged to reduce emissions 37 percent by 2025 and 43 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 numbers. The plan was considered ambitious by experts when released last year. The 2015 Paris climate deal is the only multilateral agreement tackling rising carbon emissions, which scientists blame for increasing the planet’s temperatures.

Brazil’s case came up, according to the report, after the country released its third inventory this year. The inventory used new models to calculate carbon releases and sequestrations from land use changes. Those numbers rose for both deforestation (carbon release) and forest restoration (carbon sequestration).

“Brazil’s Paris pledge has 2005 as its starting point for comparison, a year when deforestation was very high,” said Tasso Azevedo, a forestry and climate expert who collaborated on the study.

As a result, Climate Observatory says emissions in that year were much higher than when the Brazilian government drew its goals for Paris using a previous inventory.

The study says Brazil’s 2005 carbon emissions reached 2.8 billion tonnes, not 2.13 billion as stated previously. Similarly, the amount of carbon that restored forests would suck from the atmosphere also increased, facilitating the task to meet Paris goals.

Brazil leads the world on carbon reductions, due to the fight on deforestation. Carbon emissions fell from a peak of 3.4 billion tonnes in 1991 to 1.32 billion tonnes in 2014.