Brazil Brazil

Brazil ranks 33rd in this year’s CCPI, dropping eight places from last year’s CCPI, when it was just within the top 25.

The country shows a mixed performance across the CCPI categories, with ratings of high for Renewable Energy and Energy Use, medium for GHG Emissions, and very low for Climate Policy.

Brazil announced a long-term goal of hitting net zero emissions by 2050, but there are no concrete policies towards implementing what it takes to reach this. In fact, no long-term strategy has even been designed. Institutions that play a major role in environmental policy suffered attacks by and funding cuts from the federal government (National Climate Policy rates low as a result). Key issues such as reducing emissions from fossil fuel use, land use change, and creating a carbon price have no clear backing policies, with Brazil’s GHG per capita (rated low) and 2030 target (very low) consequently not aligned with a well-below-2°C trajectory. Renewables are growing in Brazil, thanks to increased wind and solar (on top of substantial existing hydro), but their potential remains underutilised. Less than 6% of Brazil’s electricity production comes from renewable sources. The high levels of hydro lead to a very high rating for renewables in the country’s primary energy share, but this dependence makes the country vulnerable to droughts, which in turn brings increased use of fossil electricity.

Though agriculture and land-use/forestry are Brazil’s two biggest sources of GHG emissions, the CCPI country experts note an absence of policies for reducing emissions at the national level. What policies do exist are underfunded and poorly monitored. Experts recognise widespread deforestation as one of the biggest problems in the country. This is also a factor in Brazil’s poor International Climate Policy (rated very low), in which there have been almost no progressive actions. The updated Nationally Determined Contribution, submitted last year, leads to increased emissions; this, according to our experts, goes against the principles of the Paris Agreement and sends the wrong signal to the international community.

The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Miguel Angel Rementeria, Roque Pedace (Foro del Buen Ayre CIMA); Carlos Tanides (Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina)

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage. The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES. For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.