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Senate adopts misguided emissions reduction target

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a multi-sectoral movement formed by more than 300 companies, civil society organizations, financial sector and the academia, views with concern the approval of Bill (PL in the Portuguese acronym) 1.539/2021 in Federal Senate, which amended the National Policy on Climate Change. The text gives room for the country to even increase its emissions in the future, since it proposes that there be a reduction based on an uncertain baseline that is subject to multiple interpretations, described as “emission reductions projected until 2025”, thus going against the country’s and global needs, which request effective reductions compared to what is currently emitted.

The Brazilian Coalition believes that the new text should maintain an existing rather than projected baseline for calculations, as per Brazil’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). For the NDC, the baseline is the country’s emissions registered in 2005.

The National Congress’ engagement in drafting a more ambitious climate commitment is important, as suggested by the Brazilian Coalition in the report “Recommendations for COP 26“, released last week. The country needs to submit a clear and convincing revision of its emission reduction target, detailing plans and resources that will be allocated for this purpose.

In this respect, the proposal, found in the original versions of Bill 1.539/21, to anticipate to 2025 the goal of a 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, is praiseworthy, but as long as this reduction is based on 2005 – or the most recent year yet inventoried, and not a blurry projection of future increase.

Brazil has been criticized since last year by the international community for not having extended its emission reduction targets until 2030. The submission of a new commitment at the Glasgow Climate Conference is crucial to show the country as a truly committed player in restricting the increase in global temperature, avoiding the environmental collapse already predicted for the coming decades by the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in August.

The planet is facing a countdown that could lead to ecosystem failure and mass extinctions. It is up to Brazil to take a leadership position in the efforts to combat a potential succession of natural catastrophes.

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