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Brazil’s new climate target ignores urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation

Brazil just submitted an update of its NDC to the United Nations. Disappointingly, it has not established binding targets or introduced the sectorial initiatives it intends to implement to fulfill the Forest Declaration commitment, signed in Glasgow last year, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26). It also bypassed the promise to reduce 30 percent of methane emissions by 2030, as stated in another agreement signed in Scotland. In the document submitted to the UN, there is only a brief mention of stopping illegal deforestation by 2028, without details on how it would be achieved.

The newly drafted NDC was elaborated without any social consultation process, and its shortcomings reveal that Brazil is not sufficiently engaged in tackling deforestation, a crucial task towards fighting climate change. Of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, 44% is due to land use change, especially deforestation.

The danger looming over the future of the Amazon is becoming increasingly evident. 2022 first quarter recorded the highest rate of deforestation alerts in the Amazon on record since the beginning of the time-series, in 2016. According to Deter system, from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), 941.3 km² of forest was cleared between January and March, an increase of 64.1% compared to the same period in 2021 (573.3 km²).

Reducing deforestation is an urgent matter. Between 2004 and 2012, the country managed to reduce the rate of deforestation in the Amazon by 84% and has the means to do so once again. Therefore, it needs to outline a public policy committed to reach solid and ambitious results. Furthermore, it is important to rely on the Amazon Fund, which finances several initiatives aimed at biome conservation, including the provision of infrastructure for administrative and control measures against environmental crimes. Restoring resource allocation, frozen since 2019, is under analysis by the Brazilian Supreme Court.

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a movement formed by more than 300 representatives of agribusiness, civil society, the financial sector and the academia, submitted six actions for a prompt deforestation halt and, as a consequence, the reduction of emissions caused by this activity:

The Coalition continues to promote dialogue on sustainable land use, as it understands that the Amazon’s regeneration is a great opportunity for the country’s development. Likewise, it is also essential to honor commitments under law and those signed in international conventions. The country’s future is directly tied to the standing forest conservation.

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