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Brazilian climate goal should be more ambitious: the Leaders Summit on Climate in April is an opportunity to move forward

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, movement formed by more than 280 representatives of agribusiness, civil society, the financial sector and the academy, expresses the importance of the Brazilian government to expand its climate ambition during the Leaders Summit on Climate, organized by the American government, hosted on April 22nd and 23rd.

The planet’s climate is changing fast. The reaction of nations to this change must be broad, permanent, and far more ambitious. Otherwise, the increase in the average temperature on the planet will exceed 1.5 ° C by the end of this century creating an unpredictable climate scenario.

Brazil is considered a key country in the global efforts for the climatic balance of the planet and has already proved what it is capable of. Between 2004 and 2012, Brazil made the largest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) ever recorded by a single country, by reducing its deforestation rate by 80%.

This is the time for Brazilians to recover this historic role. For this reason, Brazilian Coalition reaffirms that the country’s ambition in this climate agenda needs to be expressive and permanent. Something important not only for the international community, but also for the country to consolidate itself as one of the largest economies in the world. This year, Brazil has a new opportunity to expand its ambition and put itself at the forefront of the negotiations on the fulfillment of the Paris Agreement goals, contributing with innovative and disruptive mechanisms, urgent for a post-COVID-19 world.

With the review of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in December 2020, Brazil indicated a reduction in the level of ambition. This flag makes the country less attractive for international investments and carbon market mechanisms. Brazil will only receive support and external partnerships for mitigation efforts in return of effective advances in climate agenda. Therefore, it is essential for the country to achieve a significant reduction in GHG emissions, work to eliminate illegal deforestation of its biomes and fighting lawlessness.

Brazil is essential for the planet’s climatic balance and the conservation of the Amazon may be key to the achievement of the global goals of the Paris Agreement. It is in the land use sector that Brazil can make major contributions to the climate. Two thirds of national GHG emissions come from this sector, with deforestation as the most prominent. Deforestation alone accounts for 40% of the country’s emissions. This sector offers a vast potential for carbon removals, whether through environmental conservation, restoration or sustainable agricultural and forestry production. It also contributes to the generation of jobs and income, urgent in the economic crisis that we are going through, in addition of promoting food and water security. Besides, by environmental conservation in relevant biomes, we can avoid future and tragic pandemics such as the ones we live in, the result of zoonoses from the destruction of ecosystems.

Despite the clear and growing concern of various sectors of society, national and international, the loss of forests in Brazil is advancing rapidly and significantly. It is urgent, therefore, that strong action would be taken over, avoiding a scenario of destruction and fire from recurring or intensify in 2021. To this end, Brazilian Coalition considers it urgent to implement the 6 actions for prompt deforestation halt, launched in September 2020 and handed over to the authorities. The actions being:

In order to resume and enhance enforcement actions, it is necessary to support and expand the use of intelligence and expertise of Ibama (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation) and Funai (National Indian Foundation), aiming at holding offenders accountable for environmental crimes through agile, broad and efficient punishment. In this sense, full compliance with applicable law, including infield destruction of equipment used by environment criminals is important. The use of technology to implement this action is also crucial. Resuming Ibama’s Remote Control Operation, successfully implemented in 2016 and 2017, should be strongly considered.

Federal and state governments should now start the CAR’s streamlined analysis and validation, allowing for faster implementation of PRAs and CRAs. In addition, its credibility is compromised by overlapping records, so it is essential to suspend, immediately, in the cadastral database (SICAR), overlapping records in the areas of public forests (conservation units, indigenous lands, non-designated public forests, etc.) listed in the National Public Forest Registry of the Brazilian Forest Service.

Select, within 90 days, from the National Register of Public Forests, an area of 10 million hectares that can be designated as a protected area for restricted and sustainable use in regions under strong deforestation pressure.

The National Monetary Council must require that rural and agricultural credit institutions adopt stricter practices and criteria for checking environmental risks, such as proof of the absence of illegality in properties, including the CAR check and other requirements related to compliance with the Forest Code and overlap in public lands.

State-level environmental agencies must make data on vegetation clearing authorizations public. Therefore, such authorizations must be shared at the Sinaflor (National System for the Control of the Origin of Forest Products). This would elucidate what is legal and illegal.

Suspend all land regularization processes for irregularly deforested areas after July 2008 until the areas are fully recovered. Those who deforest in an unregulated area commit environmental crimes and should not benefit from land regularization, as provided in the Forest Code.

The Brazilian Coalition believes that only greater ambition on the climate agenda can increase investments, credibility and international respect for the country, factors that are so necessary in the context of the current social, economic and health crisis that we are facing.

The PDF file can be read here.

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