Representatives from Brazilian society launched on Friday, October 15th, a package of proposals to increase the Brazilian ambition in relation to the Paris Agreement and to accelerate the pace of the low carbon transition of the country, during this decade. The “Climate and Development: visions for Brazil 2030,” package reflects a three-month consultation process, which involved more than 300 experts and leaders, including CEOs, former ministers, governors, mayors, indigenous leaders, parliamentarians, as well as coalitions and private associations. Most of these actors already have commitments to net zero before 2050, covering around 58% of the emissions in Brazil.
The initiative seeks to reflect what should be the transformation of the country in relation to its current profile of greenhouse gas emissions – Brazil is currently the 5th largest global emitter (Seeg/WRI, 2020), mainly due to emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. One of the contributions of the initiative is to show that, with respect to Brazilian strategies to face climate change, there are three critical decision points: carbon pricing, control of deforestation and building an economy of forest restoration.
If it invests in these three areas, Brazil will be able to reduce between 66% and 82% of its emissions by 2030, compared to 2005. These percentages refer to scenarios developed by the initiative and that have been consulted widely. By comparison, the goal of the current government is to reduce 43% of the emissions in the same period, a proposal that has been criticized for not being aligned with the Paris Agreement. The ambition potential and the progressivity of the climate goals will be the subject of COP26, which will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, between October 31 and November 12.
Another important point is that these ambitious pathways do not imply sacrifices for the economy. In terms of GDP and income, they increase slightly in decarbonization scenarios. They also have the potential to generate more than 120,000 new “green” jobs in the sectors of services, agriculture, transport and waste.
Deforestation – The scenarios consider that, in 2023, when the deforested areas achieve a level that is 15% higher than in 2019, efforts will be resumed to prevent and control deforestation. Consequently, the proposal includes two scenarios: in the 66% reduction, there will be a decrease of the deforested area, in all the biomes, of 41%, in 2030, in relation to 2023. In the more ambitious scenario, the Amazon and Atlantic Forest biomes will achieve zero deforestation, in 2030, with a 20% reduction in the other biomes in comparison to 2023. The implementation of these goals depends on the elimination of incentives for land grabbing and the allocation of public lands, in addition to the strengthening of environmental monitoring.
Forest restoration – The focus on an economy of forest restoration aims to generate 4.8 million newly restored hectares, generating employment, income and greater environmental quality.
Carbon market – The proposed scenarios can be achieved with a carbon price of 19 USD/t CO2eq. The work recommends the immediate regulation, through legislation, of a domestic carbon market. There was a consensus, in the consultations, that part of the revenue that this mechanism could generate for the government should be used to compensate the poorer classes and to guarantee that they do not lose their purchasing power, which could reduce inequalities.
Technology – The work illustrates that, unlike most other countries, Brazil has the potential to significantly reduce its emissions, at low costs, without depending on the implementation of new disruptive technologies, such as hydrogen and carbon capture, which could be adopted on a larger scale and for a longer term.
Financing – According to the document, one method to enable the most ambitious scenarios is to unlock climate finance in Brazil, both from the point of view of the transition of the financial system to a low carbon system, as well as the financing of this transition. The additional investment (CAPEX) in mitigation actions, in these scenarios, is BRL 92.2 billion, accumulated over the decade, which is a very reasonable amount for the size of the economy and the financial resources that are available internally.
Implementation – A menu of measures and policies is suggested, such as increasing the transparency of the subsidies and tax incentives granted in the country, especially to carbon intensive activities; and to eliminate incentives for the invasion of public lands, establishing their complete removal by 2030.
Practice – In order to progress from ambition to action, the document proposes to start from ongoing experiences in the country, which have the potential for gains in scale or to be repeated. The document contains a map with significant examples. It is a sample of the ecosystem of Brazilian actors committed to net zero goals by 2050. These actors want to capture the opportunities of the low emission global economy, while at the same time wanting industries to strengthen and communities and cities to become more prosperous, safer and cleaner.
Reference guide for public and private actors – The scenarios serve as a practical reference (benchmarks) for a wide range of actors to ambitiously align themselves with the Paris Agreement. For example, governments and private entities can formulate or revise their intermediate goals of transition towards net zero, considering the scenarios proposed herein. Similarly, investors and entrepreneurs can take advantage of the business and investment opportunities in markets that tend to “heat up.”
The three scenarios developed in the initiative are:
Scenario of Economic Recovery (REF – reference) – provides for the recovery of economic development with income distribution, but without adopting a climate-friendly policy; with this, there is an increase in deforestation up to 2023, followed by a decrease up to 2025, and then stability by 2030; the ABC Plan, the Renovabio and the current mitigation programs follow the usual performance, without explicit carbon pricing or new climate policies up to 2030; consequently, the GHG emissions, in 2030, will only be 41% lower than in 2005, falling short of the commitment of the Brazilian NDC for the Paris Agreement (43%)
Scenario of Recovery and Fair Transition (CMA1 – scenario of additional mitigation 1) – adds a radical reduction of deforestation and an increase in the planting of forests in public and private areas to the REF scenario, from 2025; and carbon pricing: a market of tradable quotas of emissions from the use of fossil energy and processes/products for the industrial sector; and a carbon tax on emissions from the use of fossil fuels in other sectors of the economy. The price of carbon increases reaching 9.5 USD/tCO2e, in 2025, and 19 US$/tCO2e, in 2030; 100% of the revenues from the carbon pricing are destined for the reduction of labor charges and income transfers in order to avoid the loss of the purchasing power of the poorest families; sectoral policies invest over BRL 92, 2 billion accumulated (in relation to the REF) in mitigation actions of costs compatible with the carbon price in each period; this enables the achievement of a 66% reduction in emissions in 2030, in comparison with 2005, on a trajectory that is compatible with the achievement of the objective of zero net emissions in 2050, and with the same economic growth, better income distribution and the creation of 113,000 additional jobs, in 2030, in comparison with the REF.
Scenario of Recovery, with a fair transition to climate neutrality and an annual rate of zero deforestation, in 2030, in the Amazon and Atlantic Forest (CMA2 – scenario additional mitigation 2) – adds to CMA1 an even greater level of effectiveness of the policies to reduce deforestation, which reaches zero in the Amazon and the Atlantic Forest, and increases the carbon removals by another 30% (in relation to CMA1), especially in the indigenous lands and conservation units; accordingly, the net emissions from the sector of AFOLU (agriculture, forestry and other land use) become negative in 2030; this allows the emissions from the county, in 2030, to be 82% lower than the 2005 level.
The process was jointly coordinated by the Climate Center of COPPE-UFRJ and the Talanoa Institute. The work received the support of the Institute for Climate and Society (iCS) and also included the partnership of a significant group of organizations, networks and coalitions.
The Climate and Development Initiative: visions for Brazil 2030 is supported by an Executive Group, made up of ten institutions from organized civil society, academia and a legal group. The Initiative is also assisted by an External Group, which includes important personalities from the environmental area and the productive sector.