In a new study, researchers from the Laboratory of Environmental Services Management (LAGESA), the Center for Remote Sensing (CSR), both from UFMG, and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro evaluate that Brazil’s Nationally Determined Contribution presented in 2020 backtrack its climate commitments and may put the Amazon Rainforest at risk.

The policy brief reveals that the absolute targets of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions until 2025 and 2030 are bigger than in the first NDC, allowing the country to reach its goals despite deforestation rates above 13,000 km² a year in the Amazon – in 2020 the rate of 11,088 km² was the biggest in twelve years.

When Brazil first presented its NDC in 2016, it indicated absolute and percentage targets based on emissions of the year 2005. Since then, the estimates for that year inventoried by the 2nd National Communication were updated twice by the 3rd and 4th National Communications.

The 2020 NDC keeps the same percentual target from the first version but uses the emissions estimates of the 3rd National Communication, the highest calculated since then. This means, until 2025 and 2030, Brazil can emit more than 300 million tons of CO2e in one year and still remain within the pre-established target.

In this scenario, the researchers analyzed studies that estimate the distribution of emissions between the economic sectors and the deforestation trends for the Amazon and Cerrado biomes and verified that the land use and agriculture sectors were the most likely to fill this “extended limit” of GHG emission from the new NDC. This represents an even greater threat to the Amazon because of the expansion of agriculture and livestock over it.

In addition, according to different independent studies, the absolute targets of the new Brazilian NDC would be above the limit of emissions compatible with global warming of up to 2 ° C established by the Paris Agreement. Due to the decrease in ambition and the substantial increase in emissions expected for 2025 and 2030, the study argues that Brazil has failed to comply with the Paris Agreement, which prevents setbacks in the presentation of targets.

Click here to read the full policy brief.