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Blog Posts: brazil

  • A New Tool for Low-Carbon Agriculture in Brazil

    Brazil’s farms are major, global producers of beef, soybeans, sugarcane, coffee, rice, and more. Yet they’re also major producers of greenhouse gas emissions.

    Two new resources aim to reduce the emissions intensity of Brazil’s agricultural sector. The guidance offers an emissions accounting framework for all companies with agricultural operations—whether they produce animals or plants for food, fiber, biofuels, drugs, or other purposes. The calculation tool drills down into specific practices and emissions-intensive subsectors like soy, corn, cotton, wheat, rice, sugar cane, and cattle.

  • Cultivating Accountability in REDD+

    As the struggle continues to protect forests around the world, REDD+ implementers should look to cultivate and strengthen institutions and mechanisms of accountability.

    Though REDD+ includes an international accountability mechanism, case studies in Brazil and Indonesia, where civil society participated in and challenged land-use decisions, demonstrate that this will probably be insufficient for achieving REDD+ goals.

  • A Safe City is a Just City

    Improving developing cities’ traffic safety is a critical task for ensuring that these growing urban centers become safe, equitable places to live. A key part of achieving this safety? Sustainable urban design.

    The connection between safety and justice is a major theme of the upcoming World Urban Forum (WUF7), organized by UN-HABITAT, which this year focuses on “urban equity in development—cities for life.” At the event, EMBARQ experts will host a Cities Safer by Design for All networking session. The event will convene key experts and explore ways that urban design can improve safety—and in turn, justice—in developing cities around the world.

  • Leveling the Playing Field for Legal Timber in Brazil

    Brazil is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. What is less known is that the country is the fourth largest industrial roundwood (timber left as logs, not sawn into planks) and wood pulp producer and ninth largest paper producer in the world. Brazil’s forest sector contributed 5 percent to the national gross domestic product in 2012. Brazil’s forests are not only home to communities and a haven for biodiversity, they are also part of the country’s economic backbone.

    Brazil’s government has made impressive progress towards balancing forest protection and production. In 2012, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon dropped to its lowest rate in more than two decades. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research has pioneered the use of satellite data to prevent illegal logging. And the forest sector uses the Forest Source Document system (Documento de Origem Florestal, DOF), a sophisticated electronic system to track the wood flow throughout the supply chain.

    Despite these positive steps, illegal logging and associated trade in the Amazon continues. Beyond the negative social and environmental impacts, illegal logging poses a serious problem for businesses producing legal wood products. With a price difference of up to 40 percent, legal wood simply cannot compete with cheaper illegal wood.

    To reduce illegal logging and support the legal actors in the forest sector, Brazil must strengthen its forest control systems and policies.

  • Rio de Janeiro Poised to Update Its Greenhouse Gas Inventory

    Rio de Janeiro is a leader among the Brazilian cities aggressively promoting low-carbon development. In 2011, the city passed a landmark climate change law with a target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 8% below the business-as-usual (BAU) emissions scenario by 2012, 16% by 2016, and 20% by 2020.

    Now Rio is conducting a GHG inventory for 2012, the first target year under its climate change law. The inventory will measure the city’s emissions against its 8% reduction target for 2012, and assess the effectiveness of GHG mitigation actions implemented so far. On July 2, the city government of Rio invited me and my colleagues from the Greater London Authority and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (COPPE) to a seminar to share our experiences in conducting GHG inventories and to discuss Rio’s 2012 inventory. At the seminar, Nelson Moreira Franco, Director for Climate Change Management and Sustainable Development for the City of Rio, stressed that GHG inventories help identify emission sources and provide scientific evidence on GHG levels, so it is extremely important that the city gets it right. To me, the seminar covered four important items:

  • Ensuring Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability in Brazil

    Brazil’s economy has been booming. During the past decade, it grew from the ninth to the sixth-largest in the world. While this growth has brought many socioeconomic benefits, it’s come with a downside: significant environmental impacts. Brazil has the highest rate of deforestation worldwide, while pollution threatens the country’s drinking water supply. Despite a decrease in national greenhouse gas emissions of late, agriculture emissions and energy demand are still rising.

  • 33 Cities Test New Framework for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Inventories

    A growing number of countries and companies now measure and manage their emissions through greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories. Cities, however, lack a common framework for tracking their own emissions—until now.

    Thirty-three cities and communities from around the world started pilot testing the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Pilot Version 1.0 (GPC Pilot Version 1.0) last month. The GPC represents the first international framework for greenhouse gas accounting for cities. It was launched in May 2012 as a joint initiative among WRI, C40, and ICLEI in collaboration with the World Bank, UN-HABITAT, and UNEP.

  • 6 Lessons Brazilian Cities Learned from Greenhouse Gas Inventories

    This piece provides insights from a recent Greenhouse Gas Protocol seminar in Brazil. The Seminar was part of WRI’s Sustainable Cities Initiative funded by the Caterpillar Foundation.

    Last week in São Paulo, WRI, ICLEI, C40, USP-IEE, and EMBARQ Brazil jointly brought together more than 200 Brazilian city officials and experts to discuss how to use the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GPC) to measure and manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cities. Representatives from Brazil’s federal and state governments, as well as city-level governments including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, and Piracicaba, shared their experiences in conducting GHG inventories and implementing local climate actions.

    Brazilian cities and municipalities vary in the status of their efforts to collect GHG data and conduct emissions inventories. The event focused on emissions management efforts so far. Below are six lessons highlighted by participants in the discussion:

    1. Strong political commitment is crucial for success. Many cities in Brazil have made strong political commitments to address climate change. For example, Rio and Belo Horizonte have created municipal climate change laws with mandatory GHG reduction targets. Rio’s target is to reduce emissions by 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, while Belo Horizonte’s is 20 percent by 2030. In both cases, city-wide GHG inventories have been conducted to inform and track performance toward these targets.

    2. The inventory is the first step in low-carbon development. Participants stressed the importance of the GHG inventory process (see figure below) as a planning tool to help cities assess their emissions, identify emission sources, set reduction targets, prioritize mitigation actions, and track performance. For instance, Belo Horizonte’s inventory found that the transportation sector is the city’s major source of GHG emissions (71 percent); this information will help the city identify reduction measures. Prof. Jose Goldemberg, former federal Minister and São Paulo State Secretary of Environment, stressed that GHG inventories help cities identify key emission sources and implement low-carbon technologies. Nelson Moreira Franco, Director for Climate Change Management and Sustainable Development for the City of Rio, stressed that the “GHG inventory is a powerful instrument to manage emissions and influence policy-making.”

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