The MMA (Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change) plans to correct the “climate pedal” by the Bolsonaro government and build a participatory process to elaborate the new Brazilian goal in the Paris Agreement of climate changes.
The expectation, according to people close to the government, is that the announcement of correction of the “climate pedal” will be made in early June, marked by the celebrations of World Environment Day, on June 5th.
The date also touches the deadline given by the Federal Court of São Paulo for the government to enter into an agreement with young climate activists from the movements Engajamundo and Fridays for Future, until June 7th. In April 2021, they had started a popular action against the announced goal by the management of the then Minister Ricardo Salles.
When changing the calculation base, the update of the climate target made during the Bolsonaro government allowed the country to increase its emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, disobeying the only condition imposed by the Paris Agreement for the review of national climate goals: they must always be more ambitious than the previous ones.
At the time, a letter signed by former environment ministers, including Marina Silva, supported the youth initiative. As a signatory of the letter, Marina led to a truce in the judicial process by returning to command of the portfolio. He was suspended in court at the request of the young people in order to seek an agreement with the government.
Last Friday (19), the movements met with the minister and climate change secretary for the portfolio, Ana Toniin a conversation considered as initial by the activists.
Although the ministry is determined to correct the target, the legal and political paths are still not clear and some possibilities may delay the process, such as the need to consult other portfolios that are part of the CIM (Interministerial Committee on Climate Change), which approved the pedaled in the previous government.
“One of the means that we suggest would be the annulment, validating the target submitted in 2015 and starting as soon as possible a review of the NDC [Contribuição Nacionalmente Determinada, sigla em inglês adotada no Acordo de Paris para designar as metas nacionais de clima]”, says Paloma Costa, an activist from Engajamundo.
For lawyer Nauê Bernardo, who participated in the meeting with young activists from the Engajamundo and Fridays for Future movements, the current scenario is one of “illegality”.
“It is important that the MMA resolve this, because we are facing an illegality. The way in which the NDC was made went against the Paris Agreement and we have jurisprudence of the Federal Supreme Court that recognizes the legally binding character of the agreement”, he says.
Although the construction of the new Brazilian climate target runs separately from the correction of the current one, the perspective given by the government that it should elaborate it in a participatory way inspired confidence in the movements, which expressed encouragement and support for the intentions announced by the government at the meeting, at the end from last week.
The MMA’s proposal is to bring together interested sectors —such as companies, academia, NGOs– to formulate a national climate policy, from which the country will be able to communicate to the UN its goal for the Paris Agreement, the NDC.
The construction would be unprecedented and would reverse the process carried out in international forums, in which a political announcement often precedes the construction of public policy, demanded later as homework.
“Our climate goal must be anchored in sectoral mitigation and adaptation plans, with the necessary means of implementation. That is, measurable plans both in terms of carbon and in terms of costs and investments, the need for regulatory actions and governance actions” , said Ana Toni to the Sheet.
“We don’t just want to announce empty goals. Ambition now depends on ensuring implementation”, he concluded.
Not to mention deadlines for policy announcements, she anticipates that participatory drafting will take about a year.
Countries must present new climate targets by the end of 2025, in UN Climate COP30, which Brazil hopes to host.
The calculation of the Brazilian target
The initial Brazilian NDC, presented for the Paris Agreement, in 2015, stipulated a reduction of 43%, until 2030, in emissions based on the year 2005. The value for that year, at that moment, was 2.1 gigatons of CO2e (here CO2 equivalent, basically a measure that sums up all the greenhouse gases).
Thus, a 43% reduction would make the country reach 2030 emitting around 1.2 gigatons of CO2e.
Over the years and the development of methodologies to estimate the greenhouse gases emitted, the measurements for the year 2005 ended up being updated in the Brazilian emissions inventories.
The update of the Brazilian NDC, presented by the Bolsonaro government in December 2020, for example, was based on the third inventory, in which the emission values for 2005 were 2.8 gigatons of CO2It is. The target for Brazil, however, did not update the cut percentage at that time.
With this, the country would arrive in 2030 emitting about 1.6 gigatons of CO2and, that is, more than the commitment made initially, in the Paris Agreement. Hence the term “climate riding” or “carbon riding”.
The project Planeta em Transe is supported by the Open Society Foundations.