Tag: Brazil

Brazilian Hot Air Samba Confuses Negotiators

It’s about as big as the combined yearly CO2 emissions from Europe and the US. Yes, we are talking about the gigantic, 10 gigatonne loophole that could undermine the whole purpose of a second Kyoto commitment period. ECO is clear, Parties must pop this “hot air” bubble this year, unless they have 10 gigatonnes of unannounced additional mitigation action up their sleeves.

Total A1 pledges until 2020 amount to only about 18 gigatonnes in cumulative pollution reductions. If all the hot air were used, these weak pledges would be cut in half. It is difficult to see how developed countries would then be able to convince developing countries to take on substantial reductions past 2020 if their own actions are so weak.

ECO is thrilled that the African Group and AOSIS have started to waltz and have tabled proposals on how to address the surplus AAUs.

ECO especially likes the AOSIS proposal. It makes use of the surplus dependent on a country’s level of ambition in CP2. If a country’s emission pledges are the same or higher than their 2008 emission, they will not be able to use any carry over. If their QELRO is below 2008 emissions and if they do not meet their pledge, they can use a small fraction of their surplus to help meet their pledge.

The African proposal is good but less stringent. It allows for countries to sell 2% of their surplus per year. In an 8-year commitment period this would mean potentially 16% of carry over being sold. In ECO’s rough calculation that’s more than 1 gigatonne. It is a start but still too high.  They get a thumbs up for including offsets from the CDM and JI in the limitation of the carry over. ECO also welcomes their suggestions that half of the revenue of the AAUs sold is used for mitigation action in the seller country and that the other half goes to the Adaptation Fund.

After consulting three Nobel Prize winners and a Fields Medal laureate, ECO still cannot figure out what the Brazilian proposal is all about. It seems to say that hot air due to the current economic crisis represents real emission reductions and should therefore be carried over fully. It also implies that the proceeds could go directly into the pockets of European companies and not be spent on adaptation.  Europe, with its apparent second term Polish EU presidency, is still practising its noble silence.

ECO commends the countries that have shown leadership on this issue! ECO calls on the G77 to develop a technically and environmentally sound proposal this week. This is the year the AAU surplus issue has to be resolved once and for all. Otherwise, we will not be able to start with CP2 in January 2013.

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Brazil Takes 1st, New Zealand Earns 2nd, Canada Comes in 3rd

Fossil of the Day Awards, Durban - 2 December (COP17)

Durban, South Africa – Brazil earned its first (and First Place) Fossil in Durban for suggesting that its potential forest law would actually help it reduce greenhouse gas pollution. New Zealand, similarly, took its first, and Second Place, Fossil for overly acrobatic flexible mechanisms to help them earn emissions reduction credits. Canada, no stranger to the stage in Durban, stood at Third Place, for celebrating its earlier fossils and suggesting that the massive body of climate science and policy they were based on were biased. The Fossils as presented read:

The 'informed' and 'survival-driven' award Canada with a 3rd place Fossil of the Day.
Canada’s Environment Minister, Peter Kent, stated yesterday that the fossils awarded to Canada this week came from the 'uninformed' and the 'ideologically driven'.

Yet, from the perspective of people on the frontlines of global climate change, it would seem that Kent is one of the most 'uninformed' Environment Ministers in the world. Rather than acknowledge its historical responsibility for climate change and work with other nations towards finding solutions, Canada seems to be ideologically driven to put polluters before people and profit before a healthy planet.

When Canada’s fossils were announced in the House of Commons, a round of applause broke out. Is the Canadian government laughing about death, starvation, and displacement?
If Peter Kent were in Durban right now, he would know that no one is laughing here. In fact, other countries are condemning Canada for negotiating in bad faith. Canada is leaving the world no choice but to leave them behind here in Durban.”

The 2nd place Fossil goes to New Zealand for proposing the most Flexible Mechanism imaginable with no oversight or review. Bring on the wild west. They want to be able to use any market mechanisms they wish with absolutely no oversight or international review! There would be no way to ensure that the units from one mechanism have not been sold two or three times to another such mechanism. This would likely unleash a wild west carbon market with double or triple counting of offsets and a likely increase of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.”

Brazil earns the 1st place Fossil. As the world watches stunned by the lack of urgency in the negotiations in Durban on the search for a global solution to a global threat, some countries are capable of a level of cynicism and disregard for the consequences of their actions which leave us bewildered.

This time it is Brazil. Yes, Brazil the same country that hosted the Earth Summit in 1992 that gave rise to the Climate Convention and later to the Kyoto Protocol.

The same country that will host the Rio+20 meeting next year. To what end we ask?

If the new Brazilian forest law, now going through congress, is approved as is, it will be a disaster for the Brazilian forests, for the climate, for the indigenous people in the amazon and elsewhere, for the preservation of biodiversity and priceless environmental services.

What is Brazil asking for here, if back home the new law creates the opportunities for an increase in greenhouse gas emissions many times Brazil´s total emissions today.

Actually, the negative the impact of the new law has already began and the law has not even gotten the final vote in the house and the senate.

When the Ministry of Environment announced this week that the new law will help Brazil meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal, CAN sees no other alternative other than to present Brazil with our most notorious award – the Fossil of the Day.

Apparently the Minister of Environment has 'delayed' her trip to Durban because of the negotiations of the forest law in the congress. We heartily welcome the Minister to come to Durban, receive this award and to explain to the world how cutting down trees reduces emissions of greenhouse gases.”
About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org
About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999  in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.


Brazil: Protect Your Forests!

As the world tries to find ways to reduce global emissions, Brazil is on the verge of igniting a real carbon bomb. A bill to change the country’s Forest Law is about to be approved, resulting in the increase of deforestation by reducing protected areas, removing the obligations for the restoration of cleared areas, and pardoning loggers. The proposed bill will be sent to President Dilma Roussef for final consideration in coming weeks.

This proposed change will compromise the National Policy on Climate Change and the emission reduction actions announced by Brazil in 2009 during COP 15. Moreover, Brazil has used the reduction of deforestation rates to justify a position of leadership on environmental issues.  Yet the mere anticipation of approval of the bill has already caused an increase of deforestation. One of the foreseeable  consequences is that an area almost the size of France and Great Britain combined (790,000 km2), will lose legal protection, according to estimates presented by the Brazilian government itself. The negative impacts to the planet’s climate will be incredibly high, as deforestation and land use represent about 75% of Brazilian CO2 emissions.

In light of the fact that Brazil will be hosting the Rio+20 conference next year, the situation becomes even more delicate and embarrassing. In the corridors here in Durban, these developments are causing considerable consternation. The Forest Law was a hot topic during Brazil’s first press conference at COP 17, and the discussion spilled outside the meeting room.

Brazil has historical prominence in the climate negotiations. Therefore, there is certain to be an expectation that President Dilma Roussef will send a clear message to the world showing that Brazil will meet the commitments announced  in Copenhagen, avoiding a stain on the country’s prestige and avoiding setbacks in its environmental policy. It’s up to the President to determine whether she will stop the proposed Forest Law or embrace an imminent tragedy.


Basic countries NGOs are bringing a new perspective to cooperation on Climate Change

With the progress made in last two meetings in Bonn and Tianjin, NGOs in BASIC countries move forward beyond experience sharing and begin to discuss how do we see each other and how to build collaboration in coming future.

The first step is to identify what are the common challenges and differences we are facing now. And we do find many things in common. All these countries are emerging economies with remarkable divisions between the rich and the poor and rapid urban expansion, which has a huge and growing need for energy, often fossil-fuel based. Climate change is a common environment issue in these countries, while pollution, deforestation as well as other local environment challenges should also be deal with. Economic growth looks more important to governments than climate protection, none of these countries have a strong climate movement to face this problems and everyday more communication is needed on Climate Change with public. Beside these commonalities, these countries still have lots of differences, especially in politic system, economic structure as well as the relationship between government and civil society.

We believe that both commonalities and differences can be beneficial for future cooperation. About the future, we all agree that information sharing for good practices such as local actions addressing mitigation and adaptation actions is very important.

We really hope that with a regular communication mechanism, the cooperation among basic countries could bring a very different perspective from former international NGO cooperation and will enhance the global civil movement in addressing climate change


Brazil in Reverse

Brazil seems to be its own worst enemy. Not only did President Lula publicly state last week that the negotiations in Cancun won´t go anywhere, the Brazilian legislature is on the verge of delivering a fatal blow to real hope for future emissions reductions.  Brazil’s remarkable recent accomplishments could well be stopped cold.
The annual emissions of CO2eq in Brazil in all economic sectors is on the order of 2 Gt.  In 2010, Brazil announced another record for emissions reduction, to applause from ECO and the world. Brazil’s deforestation rate fell to another record low, with Amazon deforestation down from over 27,000 km2 in 2004 to below 6,500 km2 this year.
And yet the Brazilian House of Representatives is ready to approve a new forest code that will be the most shameful endorsement of anthropogenic global warming in recent history. And it seems that some 370 of the 513 Representatives are ready to approve this leap backwards.
The bill provides amnesty to illegal deforestation and degradation, it reduces the preservation area along rivers, and eliminates the need for legal reserves for rural properties of a certain size and a discount for larger properties.
When Brazil associated itself with the Copenhagen Accord, its commitment was to reduce emissions by 36.1% to 38.9%, the latter being about 1 Gt of CO2eq.
However, a recent study coordinated by a group of respected NGOs in Brazil, including Fundação Boticário, WWF-Brazil, TNC–Brazil, IMAZON, SPVS and Conservation International, demonstrates that just two of the many changes in the proposed forest code will massively increase Brazil´s total national emissions as well as reduce its carbon 
And so all of a sudden, all Brazilian forests are again at risk. In this case, the primary cause is a direct consequence of human 
activity – a vote.
The world was thrilled and energized by Brazil’s amazing accomplishments in reducing forest degradation. Now it is our responsibility to say that turning back on this grand achievement is simply wrong.

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Brazil Sets Another 
Record for 
Emissions Reduction Record

ECO has noticed that there’s a lot of talk in the UNFCCC meetings about what countries will promise, pledge, commit to, and otherwise say that they’re really, really going to do.
Much less frequently do we hear that countries are actually achieving emissions reductions. That adds to the pleasure of seeing the announcement yesterday that Brazil’s deforestation rate has fallen to another record low level. The reduction in Amazon deforestation, from over 27,000 km2 in 2004 to below 6,500 km2 this year, is in fact the largest reduction in emissions made by any country anywhere on the planet. And so Brazil, a tropical developing country, has already done what the biggest industrial powers in the world have simply promised to as long as a decade from now.
According to calculations by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Brazil’s reduction deforestation emissions in the past five years, from the 1996-2005 average that serves as its baseline, amounts to 870 million tonnes of CO2 annually. How big is that? Well, the EU’s pledge of a 20% reduction by 2020 corresponds to just below 850 million tonnes, and the US pledge of a 17% reduction (below 2005, not 1990) is about 1,200 million tonnes.
Brazil originally set a goal of reducing deforestation 80% by 2020.  But since it has already achieved 67%, outgoing President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva recently moved that date up to 2016.
Brazilian NGOs have shown that their country can and should  do better than that. A broad coalition of civil society groups is pushing for a reduction to zero and by 2015. The new data prove that this goal is clearly feasible. The incoming administration of President-elect Dilma Rousseff should adopt it so as to continue Brazil’s global leadership on climate.
The struggle to eliminate deforestation has not been easy, and by no means is it over. In fact, there’s now a backlash led by agricultural interests in the Brazilian Congress against the Forest Code, whose enforcement has been an important tool to reduce deforestation.
A recent study by the Observatorio do Clima coalition has shown how the proposed amendments to the Forest Code would create loopholes that could increase emissions very substantially. If they are not rejected, the Brazilian government’s climate leadership will be called into question.
Brazil’s progress, not only because of government policies but also strong and continuing pressure from Brazilian civil society, emphasizes the need to adopt a strong REDD+ decision as part of a balanced package here in Cancun. But more than that, it demonstrates the importance of countries taking action now, rather than using the inaction of neighbors as an excuse. It’s time for the Annex 1 countries to go beyond promises and start acting to reduce emissions dramatically and rapidly, they sure can too.
Bem feita, Brasil!

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