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The “new” Brazilian NDC – what does it mean?

The new Brazilian Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in the Paris Agreement was sent to the UNFCCC, but what does this mean? Several civil society institutions have been critical.


On December 8, Brazil presented its new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement, in which it reiterated the goal of reducing emissions by 37% for 2025 and 43% for 2030, in relation to 2005. The country is also committed to a long-term goal of climate neutrality by 2060. The new ambition raised a number of questions about the compatibility of the commitment with the Paris Agreement, including the level, the imposed conditions and the impacts of methodological alterations. In an attempt to clarify these issues, LACLIMA and iCS organized a discussion regarding the new Brazilian NDC with respect to its legal aspects. Watch it here, it is very worthwhile.


The Climate Observatory (OC) released a note classifying the new NDC, stating that, in fact, it was a reversal:


“The baseline has changed – and significantly. In the new goal, the government has used the Third National Inventory, which, by improving the methodology for estimates of land use emissions in the country, ended up significantly increasing the net emissions in the base year of 2005: from 2.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) to 2.8 GtCO2e. Applying the same percentage from 2015 to this elevated baseline, it is concluded that the emissions in 2030 would be 1.6 GtCO2e and no longer 1.2 GtCO2e, as was expressed in the document taken to Paris. In 2016, the OC argued that the goal for 2030 should undergo a percentage adjustment to 57%, in order to compensate for the change in the baseline.”

To learn more about this new Brazilian NDC, we recommend reading this text from ClimaInfo; this is from the same source; and this column by Natalie Unterstell in Época. Here are some of the findings: the formalization of the indicative goal of the 2015 NDC, with the problems listed above, would lead the planet, if all the countries had the same ambition as Brazil, to a 3 ºC increase in temperature – significantly above the 1.5 ºC envisaged by the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, the Environment Minister Ricardo Salles also resorted to climate blackmail, by saying that he could anticipate the goal of zero net emissions before 2060, if Brazil received US$ 10 billion a year. And worse, in the document sent to the UNFCCC, the 2060 “commitment” does not exist, because it is conditional upon the “appropriate operation of the market mechanisms defined by the Paris Agreement.” Finally, the text suggests that there was participation by civil society via the Brazilian Forum for Climate Change, which is untrue.

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