Brazilian Minister for the Environment Carlos Minc launched the country’s national strategy to address climate change, signed by President Lola on 1st December 2008. Whilst the developing country previously held a defensive position, the launch of this strategy represents a shift to a more leadership position, with which they hope to influence the G77 and developed countries to also lead. Brazil echo the sentiments in Simon’s previous blog, that COP 14 has become a waiting game, as everyone waits for other’s to make the first move.

Key commitments from the National Climate Change Action Plan include:

  •       Reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 70% by 2020 – saving 4.8bn tones of carbon over the 12 years. This is more than the target all countries agreed to reduce at Kyoto combined.
  •       Increasing concentrations of ethanol in the fuel mix for cars by 11% each year, reducing a further 500m tones of carbon over 10 years. Additionally, this will be achieved without any impact on land used by indigenous people or for food production.
  •       Increase in co-generation from 0.5% to 10% – improving efficiencies and representing a saving of around 100m tones of carbon
  •       Increase in hydroelectric energy generation – to replace more of exiting energy supplies from fossil fuels
  •       Plans to increase reforestation from 5 – 11 hectares, doubling the current rate of reforestation, including in indigenous areas
  •       Planting more trees at a faster rate than those being chopped down – till at least 2015
  •       Certification of wood and forest management to fight illegal sales of wood from the Amazon
  •       Specific resources made available to fund adaptation and fight desertification – a key issues for north-eastern areas of Brazil, home to 50m people.
  •       Amazon Fund created to fight deforestation in the Amazon- supported by 1bn Euros, from Norway, Germany and £100m from the UK

These commitments represent Brazil’s commendable decision to take a more leadership position, and the Minister for Environment called for collaborative action and further efforts from other developed and developing countries, to encourage the EU to adopt its higher target of 30% by 2020 – by meeting the condition of support from other nations.

Brazil has created National Climate Fund, which will be funded by 10% of the revenues from the petroleum industry. In addition, their ambitious programme is expected to be funded by their National Bank for Social and Economic Development, and the Minister of Environment felt this needed no further incentives at the moment.

Whilst Brazil’s leadership is in combating climate change is commendable, following the lead of Mexico’s ambitious intention for 50% reduction by 2050 earlier this week, it is interesting to note that the country has authorized the construction of their third nuclear power plant, using German technology. A further three are expected, but details are to be finalized. Brazil has strongly opposed CCS in CDM throughout the COP process, yet it is interesting to see their commitment and deployment of a similarly controversial technology.

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