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Brazil Pledges Deep Emission Cuts in 'Political Gesture' to Rich Nations

by Tom Phillips

Brazil will take proposals for voluntary reductions of 38-42% by 2020 to the Copenhagen climate change conference next month, chief of staff says

Deforestation460.jpg The Brazilian government is preparing to pledge a big curb in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 as a "political gesture" aimed at pressing rich nations into agreeing to large cuts in carbon.

The country's chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, said Brazil would take proposals for voluntary reductions of 38-42% by 2020 to the Copenhagen climate change summit next month. The reductions are from projected 2020 emissions levels if no action was taken.

"What Brazil is doing is a political gesture," said Rouseff, following a climate change meeting in Sao Paulo yesterday. "We still believe that the responsibility belongs to the developed countries." She said the reductions were voluntary, and not binding "targets", which she said should only be set for developed countries with higher emissions.

Rouseff's intervention strikes at the core of the impasse in the global warming talks. Scientists say rich nations with long polluting histories, like the US, need to cut emissions by 25-40% by 2020 on 1990 levels, but the offers on the negotiating table fall short of this. Poorer developing nations need, say experts, to cut their emissions by 15-30% by 2020 compared to business-as-usual. By stepping up to its side of the deal, Brazil is making an open challenge to the US, where Senate legislation on climate change is near deadlocked.

Half of Brazil's proposed cuts will come from a reduction in deforestation, while the remaining 20% relates to industry and farming.

"We are already an example to the world. But the fact that we are going to announce a significant objective does not mean we do not know that the responsible ones are the developed countries," Rousseff said.

Brazil's official position for the Copenhagen talks is expected to be announced before this weekend. Brazilian negotiators are already expected to announce plans to cut deforestation by 80% by 2020.

Sergio Leitao, the director of public policies for Greenpeace Brasil, said that the proposed numbers "were good" but that the Brazilian government needed to take on "concrete targets" not voluntary reductions: "If it doesn't, nobody will do anything."

The recent emergence of rainforest defender, Marina Silva, as a potential presidential candidate for next year's elections, has helped propel the environment back onto the political agenda in Brazil.

Rousseff, a Workers' party minister, who is president Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva's favoured presidential candidate, is set to travel to Copenhagen next month to lead the Brazilian climate change delegation.

This piece originally appeared in The Guardian.

Photo Credit: Greenpeace/Rodrigo Baleia, Creative Commons License

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Brazil is off gasoline and onto Methanol/Ethanol, and soon will "wise up" and import cars with engines specifically designed for higher methanol performances from Asians, who will "custom-build" monumentally higher performance ethanol/,methanol specific engines into models for this size of market, as opposed to the jaded American designs that get the poorest, lower compression, dual fuel, performance possible from both fuels! Once Brazil sees this light, their Ethanol/Methanol consumption will drop, their mileage increase dramatically, and American manufacturers will be cut off from their market, inflexible, locked on their 'Flex-Fuel" perversions, and the sale of gasoline. Gradually Brazil reaches out to world markets, develops global connections and extricates itself from the cyclic monetary manipulations by the Federal Reserve and the government at hand in the U.S. and must migrate towards the more stable Yuan, away from the thievery at hand, the floating of illicit bonds, the crooked dealings of the U.S., fiat money printing sprees; to a blended economy, with Russia, China, South Korean Europe, even Canada but not in the American dollar - poison to all nations, even itself! Brazil has great natural resources and must not allow rabid capitalism to ruin its lands. Even China is not so innocent, has little to lose, and must be held at arm's length.

Posted by: Uncle B on 11 Nov 09

Nice post. I thought you might want to join Ethos Alliance for a really good environmental / social cause -- It's a new organization that's helping provide humanitarian relief for thousands of Ecuadorians affected by the worst oil contamination disaster in history. You can follow them on Twitter too @ethosalliance.

Posted by: Gina on 16 Nov 09

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