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.
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.
Currently implemented policies will lead to a range in total emissions of 1,749 to 2,076 MtCO2e/a (46 and 36% 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, Brazil’s National Energy Plan states that the country will triple its use of "new" energy, excluding hydro renewables, by 2020, and that much of that will be wind energy. The significant reduction will only be achieved when additional financial resources will be available. The biofuel quotas have already had an impact on national emissions since they had been introduced before 2009.
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 of Brazil (Federative Republic of Brazil, 2010).
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).
Federal Republic 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)
Federative Republic of Brazil (2010b). Second national communication.
Federative Republic of Brazil (2009). Mitigation scenario as the basis for the target as submitted to the Copenhagen accord in early 2010.
Government Brazil. (2008a). National Plan on Climate Change Brazil, Executive Summary. In: Interministerial Committee on Climate Change (Ed.) Decree No. 6263
Roelfsema et al. (2013). Assessment of climate and energy policies of major emitting countries. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Pub No. 1096.
IEA (2012) 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 law of December 2010. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
United Nations(1992). UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION
US EPA (2012). Global Mitigation of Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases, Washington, D.C., USA.