Document sent to the government suggests solutions and provides recommendations to support Brazilian negotiators at COP 26
The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture – a multi-sectoral movement formed by more than 300 organizations, among agribusiness entities, companies, civil society organizations, financial sector, and the academia – recommends that the Brazilian government raises its commitment to cut emissions of the gases that cause global warming. The expansion of the national targets for 2025, 2030 and 2050 is one of the five major themes with suggestions sent to the Brazilian negotiators, who will attend the Climate Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland, starting on October 31.
The report, entitled “Recommendations for COP 26”, will be addressed to the ministers of Agriculture, Environment, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Regional Development, and Science and Technology, as well as to dozens of congressmen and the leaders of both houses of the National Congress.
Click here to read the full report, and here to check out the executive summary.
“The production of Brazilian agriculture, which accounts for 26.6% of the national GDP, is extremely vulnerable to climate and already suffers the effects of global warming,” says Marcello Brito, co-facilitator of the Coalition.
Scientific studies have shown that the average temperatures of the northern states of the Southeast Region are likely to rise anywhere between 3°C and 4°C by the end of the century, making the production of the main commodities in these locations unviable if we do not expand the emission neutralization measures.
“The best available science has already warned: the decisions we make in this decade will be crucial for the future of the planet’s climate. As the fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases and as one of the most vulnerable economies to climate change, Brazil urgently needs to raise its climate ambition,” says Brito.
Developed between the months of August and September 2021 after consultations, interviews, meetings, and debates with Coalition members and representatives from various sectors of society, the report provides the points of consensus among multiple sectors that favor meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, enabling low-carbon economic development, and global climate justice
Summarized into five topics, the intersectoral convergence points aim to support the Brazilian delegation with claims to be defended at the Conference and/or to suggest solutions so that the country can make a solid contribution to reaching the proposed goals.
Besides raising the climate ambition, presenting convincing policies and plans and allocating resources for their accomplishment, the Coalition recommends ensuring mechanisms to protect and reward all those who contribute to the maintenance and recovery of ecosystem services, with emphasis on original peoples and traditional communities, farmers, and rural settlements.
This group of people should be given priority in climate adaptation funding, besides the assurance of a channel for them to participate in debates and decisions. The report also warns that international support by funding part of the decarbonization of developing countries needs to be fulfilled and expanded.
The Coalition understands that, in addition to zero deforestation, it is necessary to foster the restoration of areas classified as priority for biodiversity conservation, water security, climate mitigation, food security and promotion of the bioeconomy. The report also recommends maximizing investments in Nature-based Solutions (NbS), such as reducing deforestation, low-carbon agriculture, sustainable restoration and silviculture of native species.
The Coalition also recommends the approval of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement Rulebook, which regulates the creation of a global carbon market, and understands that this should be a priority of the Conference to be pursued by the Brazilian delegation.
To this end, the Coalition suggests Brazil’s approval of a regulatory framework for its emissions reduction market, demonstrating political commitment to climate change mitigation and the implementation of carbon markets. However, it also recommends that all countries adopt public policies and additional solutions to carbon markets that will lead to the decarbonization of their economies without backsliding on efforts.
The report warns that national emissions reduction programs should avoid double counting of credits, relying on monitoring, reporting and verification systems. And emphasizes that the offer and demand for reductions and removals should be in balance, preventing it from affecting the price relationship of other mitigation options.
Brazilian agribusiness and the Climate Conference
World’s largest beef exporter, second largest grain exporter and fourth largest food producer, Brazil is also the world’s fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter. Out of the total Brazilian emissions, 28% are generated by agriculture and cattle raising and another 44% by soil conversion, almost exclusively through deforestation. At the same time, the agribusiness chain accounts for 26.6% of the national GDP (2020). Therefore, sustainable land use, with its potential to reduce emissions and capture carbon from the atmosphere, must be a main theme for the country’s development.
Brazil once had global protagonism in environmental and climate issues. Since the foundation of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) in 1989, the country hosted the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio-92), implemented the model that would become the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, and reduced deforestation to historic levels between 2004 and 2012 without harming economic development. On the contrary: this was a period of growth in GDP and in Brazilian per capita income.
However, the pace of deforestation has increased again in the national biomes since 2013. According to the latest Annual Report on Deforestation in Brazil, published in June 2021 by MapBiomas, the rate of “probable illegality” of deforestation in the Amazon in 2020 was 99.4% and above 95% in all other Brazilian biomes (Cerrado, Pantanal, Pampa, Atlantic Forest and Caatinga). According to data from the Deter system, of the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), the accumulated deforestation alerts in the Amazon between August 2020 and July 2021 was 8,712 km² – the second worst result in five years and almost double the deforestation of 2016/17 and 2017/18.
A third of the deforestation registered in the Amazon in the first quarter of 2021 occurred in the so-called undesignated public forests (FPND in Portuguese acronym), which occupy 57.5 million hectares and should be designated for conservation or sustainable use. In the last two years, the occupation and illegal use of these areas has increased. Data from the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (Ipam) show that, by the end of 2020, 18.6 million hectares of these forests (32% of their total area) were illegally declared as private property in the National Rural Environmental Cadastre System (Sicar), a 232% increase over 2016. In 2020, 72% of deforestation in FPND occurred in areas registered in the CAR; in the first quarter of 2021, the rate increased to 79%.
To turn around this trend of destruction of biomes that provide important ecosystem services and decarbonize its economy, Brazil needs to reconsider its current land use management, consolidating itself as an international leader of a new forest economy and drawing inspiration from its long history of contributions to environmental conservation. COP 26 is an opportunity to start this process.
The conference will be held a year late, after being forced to postpone due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and under pressure from the warnings of the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released in August. The report has shown that the role of human activities in warming the Earth is indisputable, and projected that, at today’s rate, the planet’s average temperature will rise from its current 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels to 1.5°C already in the next decade – 10 years earlier than predicted. In Brazil, these changes might cause an increase in rainfall in the South and Southeast regions and a decrease in the Center-West, Northeast and in the Eastern Amazon. Brazil is heading for an increase of between 3°C and 4°C by the end of the century in the average temperatures in the northern states of the Southeast Region. If this happens, the production of the main commodities in these regions will be unviable.