Brazil pledged to reduce its emissions by 36.1% to 38.9% in 2020 compared to business-as-usual (BAU) emissions. According to our analysis, the country will meet this pledge with current policies. We rate Brazil “medium”.
Brazil was one of the first major developing countries to set an emissions reduction target. Brazil will reduce its emissions by 36.1% to 38.9% in 2020 compared to BAU emissions.
The target is not conditional on other countries taking action, but is conditional on international financing (compare with Article 4, paragraph 7 of the convention (United Nations, 1992) that was referred to in the Copenhagen pledge (Federative Republic of Brazil, 2010)).
It explicitly includes emissions from LULUCF. The target was turned into national law in December 2010. The national law does not include any condition on international funding, making it more stringent than the target Brazil has presented at the international level. If Brazil were to remove the condition on international finance officially, we would rate its pledge as “sufficient.”
Brazil originally proposed its target in November 2009 and submitted it to the Copenhagen Accord on 29 January 2010. That submission suggested a BAU level of 2,704 MtCO2e/a by 2020. The national law, however, includes a BAU level of 3,236 MtCO2e/a with the same percentage reduction. The quantitative pledge level referring to the higher BAU is in the range of 2,068 to 1,977 MtCO2e/a (-36.1% and 38,9% below BAU respectively) in 2020 incl. emissions from LULUCF. Excluding LULUCF, the range is 1,419 to 1,832 MtCO2e/a, which is equal to the BAU. LULUCF emissions between 603 and 1,404 MtCO2e/a will result from pledged ranges.
We rate Brazil’s 2020 pledge “medium”. This means that it is within the upper and least ambitious end of the range of the effort-sharing results. Brazil’s pledge is conditional to support under the Convention, but as it is inscribed in national legislation, we do not downgrade the rating (which would be required by our methodology). For Brazil, most categories lead to similar levels of emissions allowances except for proposals based on equal cumulative/equal per capita emission would require more stringent reductions.
Currently implemented policies will lead to a range in total emissions of 1,749 to 2,076 MtCO2e/a (46 and36% below BAU) by 2020, well below their target. Brazil has been very active in implementing climate related policies in all main emitting sectors.
The focus of action has been on forestry laws that help to protect native forest, such as the Amazon. The central pieces of action are the national Forest Code, the Action Plan for Deforestation Prevention and Control in the Legal Amazon (PPCDAm) and the Cerrado (PPCerrado).
The PPCDAm targets a reduction of 80% in the annual deforestation surface in the Amazon, compared to the 1996-2005 historical average. The national projection shows that, based on the avoided deforested surface and assuming a constant biomass density (484 tCO2/ha), this would avoid about 760 MtCO2/a of emissions by 2020, which corresponds to a 23% reduction in national emissions. The PPCerrado calls for a reduction of 40% of the annual deforestation surface in the savannahs, compared to the historical average from 1999-2008. When assuming a constant biomass density (206 tCO2/ha) in the savannah, this would avoid about 130 MtCO2/a of emissions (or another 4% reduction of emission natinanly) by 2020 compared to national projections. Assuming the full implementation of both plans for the calculation, the total reduction is estimated at about 890 MtCO2/a in 2020 (a total of roughly 27% in national emissions).
Brazilian government national BAU projections for the Amazon and Cerrado amount to 1271 MtCO2/a by 2020, which corresponds to roughly 40% of national emissions in that year. There are, however, widely varying estimates for BAU development. Projections by Roelfsema et al (2013) amount to BAU emissions of only 803 MtCO2/a in 2020. This illustrates the high uncertainty of agricultural and forestry BAU emissions. Based on the BAU projections of Roelfsema et al (2013), we find the reduction caused by the above action plans could be much lower, namely 560 MtCO2/a in 2020.
Beside its activities in forestry, Brazilian government is planning to increase its share of renewables in the energy sector. During a joint declaration with the USA made on 30 June 2015, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced an increase of non-hydro renewable energy sources by 2030 to between 28 and 33%. In the power sector the share of wind, solar and bio energy should increase to at least 20% from the current level of slightly below 10% (White House, 2015).
Regarding the energy sector target, it is important to note that the International Energy Agency already projects that currently implemented policies in Brazil will achieve a share of non-hydro renewables in the energy system of 28% by 2030. The lower end of the range announced by the president is hence quite conservative and would not require further policies from the ones implemented today. The CAT has however quantified the impact on emissions of reaching the more ambitious end of the range, namely the 33%. The impact of this target on the Brazilian CO2 emissions depends on how the energy mix among the non-renewable energy sources will look like. In an optimistic scenario assuming that renewables will reach the 33% and replace only coal, Brazilian CO2 emissions would decrease in 2030 by around 50 MtCO2 compared to BAU. Alternatively, achieving this target at the cost of coal and oil would reduce emissions by 37 MtCO2 in 2030. Taking the neutral scenario, according to which renewables will replace all other non-renewables energy sources according to their share in the energy and power would reduce emissions by 33 MtCO2 and 16 MtCO2 respectively.
Increasing the share of renewables in the energy sector would already include emissions reduction resulting from the second target announced in Washington in June 2015 – increasing the share of non-hydro renewables in the power sector to at least 20% by 2030. According to the CAT calculations, achieving this target will contribute to emissions reduction by between 11.0 and 38.4 MtCO2 by 2030, which is equivalent to between 16% and 53% of the emissions from the electricity generation projected for 2030 by the IEA. This wide range depends on the sources of fuels that will be replaced: the highest if renewables would replace coal, and the lowest, if they develop instead of an increased investment in nuclear and some natural gas power plants.
But the plans to decarbonize Brazilian power sector remains in stark contrast with the recent policy developments. In November 2014 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 will not be able to provide enough electricity to satisfy the rapidly increasing demand. But the success of the gas-fired power plants in the auctions and the government’s plans to increase power production from gas-fired power plants by 66% until 2023 compared to 2014 (Government of Brazil, 2014) may limit the options for deep decarbonisation in the more distant future of Brazilian economy. At the same time there are numerous options to increase Brazil’s energy security such as increasing energy efficiency or introducing incentives for demand management. More effective utilization of flexible renewables, especially biomass, as well as development of power grid to take advantage of the complementarity of different sources of energy can also be used to reduce Brazil’s CO2 emissions in the future. This has also been underlined by the International Energy Agency in its World Energy Outlook 2013, according to which there are many measures that can increase energy efficiency of the Brazilian economy, which are not mentioned in Brazil’s National Energy Efficiency Plan.
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.
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.