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The Paris Agreement goes ahead

The 22nd UN Climate Change Conference, COP 22, ended this Friday (Nov 18th) in Marrakech, Morocco, where the countries reaffirmed their determination and global effort to meet the goals set by the Paris Agreement, including the announcement by some nations of new and more ambitious targets for their NDCs (i.e., the commitments made in Paris last December). The Marrakech Action Proclamation, which contains key actions and dates for the implementation of the Agreement in the coming years, gives a more concrete form to the measures needed for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonization of the global economy.

The Brazilian government, represented by its head of delegation, José Sarney Filho, Environment Minister, reaffirmed in plenary the country’s commitment to keep its efforts to limit the temperature increase by 1.5 °C by 2100, inviting all parties involved in the Agreement to demonstrate their clear commitment to that. “Brazil’s statement during the plenary regarding the efforts to limit the temperature increase by 1.5 °C indicates that our country is in a position to make the transition to a economy based on decarbonization over time and may go beyond the commitment originally set in our Paris goals”, said Carlos Rittl, Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Climate Observatory.

Blairo Maggi, Agriculture Minister, also present at the conference, highlighted the importance of agriculture in the commitment to reduce Brazil’s emissions and reinforced the need for investment and financing for the implementation of the sector’s goals. “To define the path for the implementation of the goals and to contribute to meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement are important actions for the Brazilian Coalition. Knowing that there is an implementation plan and the willingness to keep a broad dialogue with society, we now have a domestic agenda to support us towards our goals”, said Marcelo Furtado, facilitator of the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a multi-sector movement formed by 150 companies, civil society organizations, sector entities and research institutes with the objective of promoting a low-carbon economy with focus on land use.

The Marrakech conference was marked by technical negotiations for the regulation and implementation of the Paris Agreement, signed last December. Despite uncertainties about how the new US government will deal with the Convention on Climate Change, the vast majority of negotiators, coming from different nations, remained determined to restrain climate change.

The presence of business and financial sectors were the highlights at the COP this year. Many discussions focused on developing innovative funding mechanisms for NDC implementation. “There is a convergence between the environment and the market that will help on this. The search for more efficiency and reduction of emissions in production chains, as well as the willingness to help finance the decarbonization of the economy, shows that we are already in a new era. This is a one way road, and it will change paradigms”, said Marina Grossi, Chairwoman of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (Conselho Empresarial Brasileiro para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável, Cebds).

A fundamental path for the Brazilian advance and its real role in the new economy based on low emissions can be found in the land use sector. “Forests have a key role in the success of the Paris Agreement. We have an important commitment to restore and reforest 12 million hectares — an area equivalent to England’s territory — which, in addition to promoting carbon sequestration, can bring economic, social and sustainable development to many local and traditional communities”, added André Guimarães, Executive Director of IPAM (Environmental Research Institute of the Amazon).

“Most of our NDC commitments are based on land use, which involves forest economy, agriculture and the end of illegal deforestation”, said João Adrien, Executive Director of SRB (Brazilian Rural Society). “The forestry sector plays a very important role in building a low-carbon economy and it has potential for creating a new development model with prosperity and sustainability. For this, it is important to create adequate mechanisms and means of implementation, in Brazil and internationally”, added Elizabeth de Carvalhaes, Executive Chairman of Ibá (Brazilian Tree Industry).

The intelligent use of natural resources has also been highlighted in the energy field, in which Brazil has the advantage of holding biofuel production technologies, established technical capacity to use them and a stable and operative distribution system. “We have great potential to further expand our use of biomass, biofuels and bioenergy, and thus decarbonize our economy”, said Elizabeth Farina, CEO of the Brazilan Sugarcane Industry Association (União da Indústria de Cana-de-Açúcar, Unica).

At the COP 22, the Brazilian Coalition organized two debates about the importance and role of agriculture and forests for complying with the Climate Agreement. One of them was attended by representatives of the Ministers of Agriculture and Environment, the World Bank, the Climate Policy Initiative and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), who pointed out that Brazil can be an example of leadership in low-carbon agriculture and sustainable forest management.

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