In a move that some observers say could provide a path forward on a future climate agreement that includes emissions cuts in developing countries, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said his country will aim to reduce emissions 14 to 19 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
Roughly half the reduction would come from slowing Amazon deforestation, which accounts for more than sixty percent of Brazil’s CO2 emissions. The rest would come from improved energy efficiency in construction, farming, and industry. Brazil will also continue to rely heavily on sugar cane ethanol, which has been shown to have the best energy balance relative to other biofiels that are presently produced at scale.
Brazil estimates that its emissions target for 2020 represents a 36-39 percent reduction relative to forecast growth.
Carlos Minc, Brazil’s Environment Minister, noted that the emissions cut is voluntary, since developing countries have no legal commitment to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. He said that the move could influence other countries to pledge CO2 reductions.
Brazil releases official Amazon deforestation figures for 2009
(11/13/2009) Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell nearly 46 percent to the lowest annual loss on record in 2009, reported the Brazilian government Thursday.
(06/02/2009) Accounting for roughly half of tropical deforestation between 2000 and 2005, Brazil is the most important supply-side player when it comes to developing a climate framework that includes reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). But Brazil’s position on REDD contrasts with proposals put forth by other tropical forest countries, including the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, a negotiating block of 15 countries. Instead of advocating a market-based approach to REDD, where credits generated from forest conservation would be traded between countries, Brazil is calling for a giant fund financed with donations from industrialized nations. Contributors would not be eligible for carbon credits that could be used to meet emission reduction obligations under a binding climate treaty.