Bolsonaro pledges end of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

The commitment was announced at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate

Published in 22/04/2021 - 14:40 By Andreia Verdélio - Brasília

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro today (Apr. 22) promised to reach neutrality of greenhouse effect gas emissions by 2050—ten years earlier than the previous prediction, made in the Paris Agreement. “Among the necessary measures to meet this goal, I mention the commitment to eliminate illegal deforestation by 2030, with the full and prompt application of our Forest Code. This will help us reduce our emissions in up to 50 percent by this point,” Bolsonaro said in his address at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate.

Net-zero neutrality is attained when all greenhouse effect gas emissions by man is balanced out with the removal of such gases from the atmosphere, which happens, for instance, when forests are restored. According to Bolsonaro, “as home to the planet’s biggest biodiversity and agricultural/environmental potential,” in the last 15 years Brazil stopped the emission of more than 7.8 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

In his address, in addition to defining goals and commitments, the president listed initiatives conducted in Brazil for the preservation of the environment, like projects in clean energy generation and the technological development in agriculture. “Brazil participated with less than one percent of historic greenhouse effect gas emissions, even though it is one of the world’s biggest economies. As it stands today, we account for less than three percent of yearly global emissions,” he said.

In the president’s view, necessary to meet deforestation goals, in addition to action and control measures, is the sustainable development of the Amazon region—an area he described as the world’s richest in natural resources, but poorest in human development index. “We must enhance land governance and make bio-economy a reality, with great value effectively placed on forest and biodiversity. This must be an effort including the interests of all Brazilians, including indigenous people and members of traditional communities,” he argued.

Financial resources

Bolsonaro said he believes it is fundamental to rely on funding from other countries, companies, entities, and people “willing to work in an immediate, real, and constructive fashion in the solution to these problems.”

The financial procedures for reducing emissions are laid out in articles 5 and 6 of the Paris Agreement and should be debated at the 26th UN Conference on Climate Change, COP26, to be held in November in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Carbon markets are crucial as a source of resources and investments for boosting climate action—both in the forest area and in other key sectors in the economy, like industry, energy generation, and waste treatment. Likewise, fair remuneration for environmental services is necessary for our planet’s biomes, as a means to recognize the economic character of conservation activities,” Bolsonaro said.

The summit

The Leaders’ Summit on Climate was organized by US President Joe Biden. The online assembly ends tomorrow (Apr. 23) and is seen as preparation for COP26.

Forty world leaders were invited to the meeting, which is expected to discuss the climate crisis, efforts to mitigate the impact on climate, and the economic benefits of such measures. There will also be debates on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, required to keep global warmth below 1.5ºC, one of the goals established in the Paris Agreement.

At the opening ceremony of the event, US President Joe Biden also pledged to slash greenhouse gas emissions in the US between 50 to 52 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. The new goal should encourage other major emitters to show more ambition in the fight against climate change.

The summit will also gather the forum of the top global economies on energy and climate, which is led by the US and comprises 17 countries accounting for approximately 80 percent of global emissions and wealth. A small number of business leaders and representatives from the civil society will participate in the event.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Fernando Fraga / Nira Foster

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