Brazil becomes the third major emitter ratifying the Paris Agreement

On Monday (Sept. 12), Brazil has fully joined the Paris Agreement, according to Reuters. After the ratification of China and the United States earlier this month, this is seen as a further important step for the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement.

Brazil’s president Michel Temer emphasised in his speech at the ratification ceremony the major role of Brazil in the climate negotiations. He called on other states to join the Paris Agreement by saying that the climate issue is “an obligation of all governments”.

Temer took over the presidency from Dilma Rousseff who was suspended from office due to accusations to have broken budgetary laws. After the Senate’s impeachment vote against Rousseff in late august, the succession became definite. Formerly Rousseff’s vice president, the liberal-conservative politician Temer seems to continue his predecessor’s policy of supporting the Paris climate deal.

Brazil possesses the largest area of tropical forest in the world why it has a special role for the protection of the global climate. According to its INDC, Brazil aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37% by 2025 and by 43% by 2030 below 2005 levels. It is the only absolute target put forth by a BASIC country. Moreover, the announced targets are unconditional; i.e. they are not linked to any demands for international support to achieve their implementation.

However, according to the Climate Action Tracker, Brazil is very close to meet these targets with current policies. Between 2005 and 2012, the emissions in forest and land use (LULUCF) sector have decreased by about 85%. Therefore, the INDC target for 2025 translates actually into an increase of emissions outside of the LULUCF sector of 4% when comparing to 2012 emission levels.

Overall, Brazil is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Latin America and accounts for about 2.5% of global emissions, according to official UN data. Hence, Brazil is the third largest emitter of countries joined the Paris Agreement. Other major emitters who have not yet ratified the Paris Agreement include Russia, India, Japan and Germany.

According to the UNFCCC, as of Sept. 7 altogether 27 parties had ratified the Paris Agreement, responsible for about 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the double trigger for entry into force of the Paris Agreement of 55 states accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions is getting closer with the ratification of Brazil. Moreover, the invitation of United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon to a ratification event of the Paris Agreement on the Sept. 21 is expected to give a further impetus.


(Image: Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, Brazil. Photo credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT for Center for International Forestry Research, CIFOR on Flickr)