Brazil could raise emissions and still meet Paris goal: study

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 06, 2016 5:11 PM

By Marcelo Teixeira

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil could increase its carbon emissions by up to 21 percent from 2014 to 2030 and still meet its pledge under the 2015 Paris climate agreement to fight global warming, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The country based its goals on an outdated inventory on greenhouse gas emissions, which makes it much easier to meet the goals, said the report, asking the government to quickly adjust its commitments.

"It would certainly create a large embarrassment for the country if the adjustment is not made," said Andre Ferretti, coordinator of the not-for-profit Climate Observatory organization.

Brazil has pledged to cut its carbon emissions by 37 percent by 2025 and by 43 percent by 2030, on absolute terms, compared with 2005 numbers. The plan was considered ambitious by experts when released last year.

The 2015 Paris climate deal, signed by almost 200 nations last year, is the only multilateral agreement tackling rising carbon emissions, which scientists blame for increasing the planet's temperatures.

Brazil's case came up, according to experts, after the country released its third inventory of greenhouse gases earlier this year.

The inventory used new models to calculate carbon releases and sequestrations from land use changes. Those numbers rose for both deforestation (carbon release) and forest restoration (carbon sequestration).

"Brazil's Paris pledge has 2005 as its starting point for comparison, a year when deforestation was very high," said Tasso Azevedo, a forestry and climate expert who collaborated on the study.

As a result, the Climate Observatory says emissions in that year were much higher than considered when the Brazilian government drew its goals for Paris using a previous inventory.

In the same way, the amount of carbon that restored forests would suck from the atmosphere during the years up to 2030 also increased, facilitating the effort Brazil would have to make to meet its pledge, since most of its emissions come from land use.

The study says Brazil's 2005 carbon emissions in fact reached 2.8 billion tonnes and not 2.13 billion as stated previously.

There was no immediate comment from Brazil's Environment Ministry regarding the study or the possible need to adjust its Paris pledge.

Brazil leads the world on carbon reductions. They fell from a peak of 3.4 billion tonnes in 1991, when Amazon destruction was rampant, to 1.32 billion tonnes in 2014.

But as deforestation fell and stabilized recently, other sectors, such as energy, increased their shares of carbon emissions.

(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Dan Grebler)