increasing deforestation threatens Brazil’s emissions targetSaturday November 8th, 2014
Marcio Santilli – Founding Partner of the Socio-Environmental Institute *
A few days ago, the federal government, after all, has released data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) indicating 122% increase in Amazon deforestation between August and September this year compared to the same months of 2013.
Data were produced by Deter system which serves to detect deforestation of greater extension in real time to guide the inspection work. Another system, Prodes, calculate more accurately the extent deforested annually, constituting a historical sequence data allowing to assess the most consistent trends deforestation behavior over time.
The increase in deforestation caused no surprise and the data were already available to the government since the beginning of October, but were only recently released to avoid negative impact on the re-election of President Dilma Rousseff. Although not lend themselves to accurate calculation of the annual rate of deforestation, Deter data indicate a major trend reversal in order to increase the detected range.
After a period consistent reduction of deforestation between 2006 and 2012, Prodes pointed an increase of 29% between August 2012 and July 2013. Prodes the data for the period have not yet been released between August 2013 and July 2014, but the data retained for the same period Stop suggest a possible further increase of around 10%. The 122% increase announced now will impact the period between August 2014 and July 2015, and will only be incorporated into the historical sequence with the release of Prodes data for this period, scheduled for the end of 2015.
What Deter is indicating to us repeatedly, it is that the increase proven by Prodes in 2013 did not constitute a “point out the curve,” but began an upward trend which continued in 2014 and will be intensified in 2015 if the government does not take immediate action. The heel size indicated now, although that may be recalculated downward by Prodes is high enough to point a possible loss of control of the situation by the government, although we are already starting the rainy season in most of the Amazon, which tends to reduce the rate of deforestation.
Also indicates that Brazil left the virtuous path that began in 2006 and played the Brazilian political role at the UN conference on climate change in 2009 in Copenhagen (Denmark), when the country was the first among emerging to assume a specific goal of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, from 36% to 39% relative to the emission levels of 1990. This is a realistic goal. Although it involves efforts for the various factors of greenhouse gas emissions, it is based mainly on reducing deforestation, which represented over 70% of these emissions by 2006.
In the years following Copenhagen, Brazil continued in the course of fulfilling its goal consistently and, in 2012, emissions from the energy sector have exceeded those resulting from deforestation. But from 2013, while emissions from burning fossil fuels still growing with intensive power plants and the significant increase in car fleet, deforestation returned to growth continuously, as it is now, even though we to wait for Prodes data to gauge the exact pace of acceleration.
Even if the target set by Brazil in Copenhagen refer to 2020 (there is time, therefore, for a possible correction of course), we are now against the process. And it is this circumstance that the country will participate in the decisive moments for the negotiations on climate change, which should lead to an international agreement by the end of 2015 when the heads of state will meet again in Paris with the mission to significantly facilitate reduction of global emissions from 2020.
While Deter informs that Brazil dive into a danger zone in relation to the assumed target, US and China announced last week a bilateral agreement to reduce their emissions. The United States undertake to extend the 17% reduction in its emissions compared to 2005, promised in Copenhagen for 2020 to 26% to 28% by 2030. And China is committed to produce, from clean sources at least 20% of the energy it consumes and to start a process of reducing their emissions before 2030. it is expected that the European Union will add to the gesture and also increase your bet.
Thus, while Brazil flows back into a defensive and ashamed diplomacy, urging leniency regarding future goals based on past results that are fading, the largest emitters take center stage of international negotiations, increasing the chances of reaching an effective agreement despite Brazil.