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COP26: Brazil ramps up climate target to cut emissions 50% by 2030

GLASGOW (REUTERS) – Brazil said it was raising its climate commitments on Monday (Nov 1) at the start of the COP26 summit , marking a change of tone after more than two years of soaring deforestation under President Jair Bolsonaro.

Speaking by live video link, Brazil’s Environment Minister Joaquim Pereira Leite said on Monday the country would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, compared to a previous commitment to reduce emissions by 43 per cent over that period.

The reductions are calculated against emissions levels in 2005.

That baseline was retroactively revised down last year, making it easier for Brazil’s targets to be met.

Advocacy group Climate Observatory said that a 50 per cent reduction was still weaker than the 43 per cent commitment using the pre-Bolsonaro baseline, meaning Brazil had not in reality increased its ambition.

In a pre-recorded video shown at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, President Jair Bolsonaro said he had authorised Mr Pereira Leite to submit new climate targets at the summit.

“We will act responsibly and search for real solutions for an urgent transition,” Mr Bolsonaro said. “I reaffirm my message to all who participate in COP26 and the Brazilian people: Brazil is part of the solution to overcome this global problem.”

Mr Pereira Leite also said that Brazil would formalise a commitment to become “climate neutral” by 2050 during COP26, a promise first made by Mr Bolsonaro in April.

The Glasgow talks aim to keep alive a target of capping global warming at 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels – a level scientists say would avoid its most destructive consequences.

To do that, it needs more ambitious pledges from national governments.

Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 9.5 per cent in 2020, a study released last week sponsored by Climate Observatory found. Deforestation, which hit a 12-year high in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in 2020, is the biggest source of Brazil’s emissions.

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