The update of the NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) of Brazil sent in December 2020 and which has incurred a series of problems, such as the global reduction of its ambitions, is one of the most important subjects of 2021, especially with the proximity of COP 26. On May 19, the Environment and Climate Change Center of CEBRI and iCS held the online debate “The NDC of Brazil: the technical and legal implications of its update.” The discussion was attended by Izabella Teixeira, senior fellow of CEBRI, Ana Toni, executive director of iCS, Caio Borges, the coordinator of the iCS Law and Climate portfolio, Emilio La Rovere, of COPPE-UFRJ, Katia Abreu, senator, and Alessandro Molon, federal deputy.

Emilio and Caio spoke a little about the technical, scientific and legal aspects of the Brazilian NDC, based on this publication . As La Rovere explains, the Brazilian NDC filed in January 2016 had the goal of cutting 37% of total national emissions by 2025, based on 2005, and an indication that this objective would rise to 43% in 2030. The new first NDC, from 2020, maintains the numbers, but uses the emission methodology for the base year of 2005 that appears in the third Brazilian inventory of emissions, from April 2016. In practice, if the original NDC Brazil could emit a total of 1 .2 billion tons of CO2e in 2030, this figure now becomes 1.6 billion tons.

“There is no surprise in the change of methodology between the inventories, this actually does happen. The problem is that the end of December 2020 was opportunistically awaited in order to use the data from the April 2016 inventory, when in 2020 the data from the 4th inventory already existed, which was available for public consultation, with known figures. The loss of credibility is clear,” he concludes.

Caio Borges, in turn, reinforces that an agreement such as the Paris Agreement is universal. It is not and could not be specific to the point of saying whether a country could alter its calculation basis, as Brazil has done. In theory, yes. However, he says, there should at least have been some proportionality in order to maintain the previous numbers, because the Agreement is clear in not allowing any type of loophole for the regression of goals – which is precisely what Brazil did.

“The presumption is that the retrograde step by Brazil is indeed contrary to the rules of the Paris Agreement.”

Watch the discussion here

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