On 28 September 2015, Brazil submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), with a target to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions, including land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF), by 37% below 2005 levels by 2025. In addition, it mentioned an “indicative contribution” to reduce emissions by 43% below 2005 levels (incl. LULUCF) by 2030.
The INDC text clarifies that Brazil intends to achieve these INDC targets through a series of measures, including reaching a share of 45% renewables in the total energy mix by 2030. Based on this intention, the CAT estimates the INDC will result in GHG emissions (excl. LULUCF) increasing by about 36% above 2005 levels by 2025.
We rate Brazil’s INDC “medium.” The “medium” rating indicates that Brazil’s climate plans are at the least ambitious end of what would be its fair contribution. This means it is not consistent with limiting warming to below 2°C unless other countries make much deeper reductions and comparably greater effort. For the CAT to give Brazil a “sufficient” rating, the emissions (excl. LULUCF) increase would need to come down to around 6%, instead of 36%, above 2005 levels by 2025.
The Brazilian INDC notes that GHG emissions (incl. LULUCF) have already decreased by 41% between 2005 and 2012. This is mainly due to significant emissions reductions in the forestry and land use (LULUCF) sector. Brazil is home to the largest part (about 60%) of the Amazon rainforest where alarming levels of deforestation in the early 2000’s contributed to very high emissions from its LULUCF sector. However, as a result of strong policies to fight deforestation in the Amazon, Brazil turned this trend around and, between 2005 and 2012, its LULUCF emissions decreased by about 85%, an almost 2GtCO2 reduction from the highest reported level in 1996.
Brazil’s puts forward an absolute target i.e. a target relative to emissions in a historical year as opposed to reductions below business-as-usual, or an intensity target. Compared to other large developing country emitters, the Brazilian target actually constrains emissions and adds more certainty to the system.
We find Brazil is very close to meeting its INDC targets under current policies. The target of a 45% share of renewables by 2030 would represent a very small improvement relative to projections based on currently implemented policies that already lead to, roughly, a 41% share of renewables in the Brazilian energy mix by 2030 (also very close to today’s level of 41.3%).
INDC – Post-2020
On 28 September 2015 Brazil announced an unconditional target of a 37% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 below 2005 levels including LULUCF. The INDC also contains a “subsequent indicative contribution” of 43% below 2005 levels by 2030.
The CAT assesses emissions excluding LULUCF and emissions from LULUCF separately. We rate governments only based on emissions excluding LULUCF. In its INDC text, Brazil sets out a clear plan for a series of measures to achieve its target, including an announcement that it intends to reach a 45% share of renewables in its primary energy mix by 2030. This would mean an additional 4% share of renewables compared to 2012 levels by 2030.
Based on this aspect of the INDC, we calculate emission levels in 2025 and 2030 for energy-related CO2. If the Brazilian government took no further measures to reduce non-CO2 and process emissions from the steel and cement sectors,, emissions (excl. LULUCF) would increase by 35% by 2025 and by 43% by 2030 above 2005 levels.
Historically, the land use and forestry sector has been by far the largest source of GHG emissions in Brazil. This picture has changed significantly and positively over the past decade: between 2005-2012, emissions from the LULUCF sector decreased by 85%. This is the result of effective policies to fight deforestation implemented in the last decade that have - in absolute terms - reduced the annual deforested area by roughly 80% from 27,772 km2 in 2004 to 5,891 km2 in 2013. According to our analysis, LULUCF emissions will need to remain close to today’s levels until 2020 and decline slowly to reach levels close to zero by 2030 for Brazil to meet its INDC.
The INDC notes that Brazil achieved a 41% reduction in emissions below 2005 levels in 2012 (incl. LULUCF), mainly due to the significant decrease in emissions from the LULUCF sector. This means that the INDC target to reduce emissions by 37% below 2005 by 2025 effectively allows Brazil to increase its emissions incl. LULUCF between 2012 and 2025 by 4%.
It is important to note that Brazil’s energy market is expanding and projected to increase by more than 50% between 2012 and 2030. This makes the renewable energy target of 45% an important statement: that despite the significant increase in energy supply, renewable sources of energy will slightly increase their share.
Brazil was one of the first major developing countries to put forward an emissions reduction target with its Copenhagen pledge in January 2010. It committed to reduce its emissions incl. LULUCF by between 36.1% and 38.9% in 2020, compared to BAU emissions. This target is equivalent to a 109-125% increase on 1990 levels excl. LULUCF.
The target was turned into national law in December 2010. The national law contained no conditionality on international funding, making it more stringent than Brazil’s international target.
However, there was also a difference in the proposed BAU – it has risen. Whereas Brazil’s Copenhagen Pledge suggested a BAU level of 2,704 MtCO2e/a by 2020, its national law includes a BAU level of 3,236 MtCO2e/a with the same percentage reduction. That translated into a 20% increase of the emissions level in 2005 compared to the Copenhagen Pledge.
To achieve its pledge, Brazil has proposed a series of measures and policies targeting the LULUCF sector, and notably the government has committed to reduce annual deforestation rates by 80% below average levels 1996-2005 by 2020. By 2012, Brazil already achieved 76% of those reductions, which has led to an abrupt and significant decrease in LULUCF emissions of about 85% between 2005-2012.
We rate Brazil’s INDC for 2025 “medium.” This means that its climate plans are at the least ambitious end of what would be a fair contribution. This means it is not consistent with limiting warming to below 2°C unless other countries make much deeper reductions and comparably greater effort. For the CAT to give Brazil a “sufficient” rating, the emissions (excl. LULUCF) increase would need to come down to around 6%, instead of 36%, above 2005 levels by 2025.
With emissions at the level of 1.107 MtCO2, the target for 2025 is in line with the effort sharing approaches that focus on equal cumulative per capita emissions and equal per capita emissions. According to the approaches based on responsibility and capability, Brazilian emissions reduction target is not ambitious enough to be considered fair. The emissions reduction target could therefore be strengthened to reflect Brazil’s potential to increase energy efficiency and develop renewable sources of energy.
Currently implemented policies are estimated to lead to total emissions (excl. LULUCF) of 1,214 MtCO2e in 2025 and 1,299 Mt CO2e by 2030 (respectively, 40 and 50% above 2005 levels and 112 and 127% above 1990 levels). According to our assessment, Brazil is almost on track to meet its INDC—under which emissions (excl. LULUCF) are allowed to grow by 35% and 43% above 2005 levels in 2025 and 2030 respectively—with currently implemented policies, and little additional effort is needed between now and 2030. Emissions from the energy and industrial sectors increased by 18% in the period of 2005-2012, and are projected to grow significantly over the coming decades, mainly as a result of increased primary energy demand.
In a joint declaration with the US President Obama on 30 June 2015, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced an increase of non-hydro renewable energy sources to between 28% and 33% by 2030 (The White House). This target was confirmed in the INDC and an overall 45% renewable energy target, including hydro energy, was announced. Depending on the energy mix, it would contribute to emissions reductions of 20 - 39 MtCO2e in 2030 compared to current policy projections.
However, plans to decarbonise the Brazilian power sector remain in stark contrast with recent policy developments. In November 2014 the Brazilian government opened power auctions to coal- and gas-fired power plants. The goal of this strategy was to increase the flexibility of the power sector in case hydro power plants are not be able to provide enough electricity to satisfy Brazil’s rapidly increasing demand (Bloomberg). However, the success of the gas-fired power plants in the auctions, and the government’s plans to increase production from gas-fired power plants by 66% by 2023 compared to 2014 (Government of Brazil, 2014) may ultimately limit the options for deep decarbonisation into the more distant future of the Brazilian economy.
There are numerous options for increasing Brazil’s energy security, such as increasing energy efficiency or introducing incentives for demand management. More effective utilisation of flexible renewables, especially biomass, as well as the development of a power grid to take advantage of the complementarity of different sources of energy can also be used to reduce Brazil’s CO2 emissions. The International Energy Agency pointed this out in in its World Energy Outlook 2013, when it noted the many measures that can increase energy efficiency of the Brazilian economy, none of which are mentioned in Brazil’s National Energy Efficiency Plan.
Keeping in mind the significant share of emissions from LULUCF, which amounted to over 73% of all emissions in 2005, in its INDC Brazil mentioned a number of measures that would significantly reduce emissions in this sector.
Brazil’s 2025 and 2030 goals are to reduce illegal deforestation to zero, compensating for GHGs emissions from legal suppression of vegetation, reforesting 12 million hectares of forests, and restoring an additional 15 million hectares of degraded pasturelands by 2030 (we have not quantified the impact of these measures at the moment). Strengthening and enforcing existing measures should achieve these goals.
The central pieces of action in the LULUCF sector are the National Forest Code, the Action Plan for Deforestation Prevention and Control in the Legal Amazon (PPCDAm) and the Cerrado (PPCerrado), that have proved highly successful in reducing emissions from the LULUCF sector by about 85% 2005-2012, resulting from a decrease in deforestation of about 75% over the same period. While this is a very positive development, this decrease has not been linear: for example, the deforested area in 2008 was 11% higher than 2007 levels and, even more worrying, the deforested area in 2013 was 29% higher than in 2012 (then decreasing by 15% again in 2014). This shows that continuous efforts are crucial to maintain the lower levels of deforestation we see today, and additional policies may be needed if the government wants to achieve even lower levels. In the agriculture sector the Brazilian Government plans to restore 15 million hectares of degraded pasturelands and enhance five million integrated cropland livestock forestry systems in the framework of the ABC Program by 2030.
In the absence of a clear split between LULUCF and non-LULUCF emissions, the CAT estimates the INDC for Brazil on emissions excl. LULUCF as follows: Brazil announced it intends to reach a 45% share of renewables in its energy mix by 2030. Based on the WEO (2014) New Policies Scenario, we calculate that achieving this goal would mean increasing energy related CO2 emissions to between 588 and 601 MtCO2e in 2030, depending on the source of energy that will reduce their share in the energy mix. To do that, we added business-as-usual non-CO2 and process emissions as projected in EDGAR database.
Historical and future emissions were taken from the calculations provided in the press release on the target. Forestry emissions were taken from the national communications (Federative Republic of Brazil, 2010) of Brazil. The pledge excl. LULUCF was calculated by applying the target to total emissions and subtracting LULUCF levels in 2020 consistent with the achievement of the targets in the deforestation sector.
Current policy projections
The current trend projections are based on the World Energy Outlook 2014 Current Policy scenario projections for CO2 only (IEA, 2014) until 2030, the US EPA non-CO2 emission projections until 2030 (US EPA 2012), inventory data submitted to the UNFCCC for historical information until 2005 and from Observatório do Clima thereafter and historical non-energy emissions from EDGAR (JRC/PBL 2012). For LULUCF the quantification is based on Roelfsema et al.( 2013).
Government of Brazil (2009). Mitigation scenario as the basis for the target as submitted to the Copenhagen accord in early 2010
Government of Brazil (2010a): Brazil's pledge to the Copenhagen Accord. Compiled in: Compilation of information on nationally appropriate mitigation actions to be implemented by Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention, UNFCCC (2011)
Government of Brazil. (2008a). National Plan on Climate Change Brazil, Executive Summary. In: Interministerial Committee on Climate Change (Ed.) Decree No. 6263.
Government of Brazil. (2014). Plano Decenal de Expansão de Energia 2023.
IEA (2013) World Energy Outlook 2013, International Energy Agency. Paris.
IEA (2014) World Energy Outlook 2014, International Energy Agency. Paris.
JRC/PBL (2012) Edgar Version 4.2 FT2010 Joint Research Centre of the European Commission/PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.
Observatório do clima, (2014). Sistema de Estimativa de gases de efeito estufa. November 2014.
Presidência da República (2010).National lawof December 2010. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Roelfsema et al. (2013). Assessment of climate and energy policies of major emitting countries. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Pub No. 1096.
United Nations(1992). UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION
US EPA (2012). Global Mitigation of Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases, Washington, D.C., USA.
White House (2015). U.S.-Brazil Joint Statement On Climate Change, Washington, D.C., USA.