While around the world greenhouse gas emissions dropped by almost 7%, due to the pandemic, in 2020 Brazil registered an increase of 9.5%, in comparison with the previous year. Deforestation, especially in the Amazon, was the main cause of the rise, according to the ninth edition of SEEG (System of Estimates of Greenhouse Gas Emissions), by the Climate Observatory (OC). It is the largest figure for emissions since 2006.
Every year, the Observatory calculates how much climate pollution the country has generated. As the OC showed in its study , with the increase in emissions and the 4.1% fall in GDP, Brazil has become poorer and more polluted.
According to SEEG, 2.16 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) were emitted last year, compared to 1.97 billion tons in 2019.
“Most of the Brazilian emissions come from land use. There are 1 billion tons from deforestation and changes in land use; 600 million tons from agriculture and cattle breeding and another 600 million tons from energy, waste transport and industry. If deforestation is reduced to zero, 1 billion tons would be eliminated straight away,” explains Tasso Azevedo, coordinator of SEEG and MapBiomas.
Tasso also draws attention to another important variable. “When you stop deforestation, the forest regenerates and absorbs carbon, which today is about 600 million tons. So, if deforestation is stopped, what the forest absorbs is enough, for example, to offset the emissions from all our agriculture and cattle breeding activities.”