Menu

Environment “Let it not just stay on paper”, says Amazon researcher on COP26 agreements

The village of Gusdorf, west of Cologne, is pictured in front of a non-renewable energy plant (Arnd Wiegmann/Reproduction)

Marcela Leiros – Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – Some of the main countries mobilized in the fight against climate change signed, on Tuesday, at the 26th Climate Conference (COP26), two agreements to reduce deforestation and methane gas emission. Brazil participated in the signing of both documents. The first one, the Forest Deal, foresees zero deforestation in the world by 2030 to protect forests. The Global Methane Commitment, on the other hand, intends to reduce methane gas emissions by 30%, also by 2030.

Both agreements aim to limit global warming to 1.5ºC. To CENARIUM, the director of the Wildlife Conservation Association (WCS-Brazil), Carlos Durigan, points out that the agreements signed are important, but it is necessary that they promote concrete actions and not just “empty words”. He also points out the need for the federal government to add to these efforts, and not work against them.

“We need to see, concretely, how the actions will reverse themselves, because we see there an effort from state governments, in some cases, organized civil society, movements of indigenous peoples and traditional communities in the Amazon, fighting deforestation through positive actions and also denouncing this scenario nationally and even internationally. What we need to know now is whether the federal government will join these efforts or continue working against them”, highlights the geographer.

Methane is the gas responsible for 30% of the current global warming. Besides being produced on a large scale by cattle herds, it is also released from landfills and the production of fossil fuels. Despite being 80 times more polluting than Carbon Dioxide (CO2), methane stays in the air less time, around 11 years. CO2, the “villain” of the greenhouse effect, only dissipates completely in a thousand years.

“In the case of methane, it is the second major effect gas on climate change, a very potent greenhouse gas. After carbon dioxide, it is the main one. Brazil has almost 70% of methane emissions, which comes from activities related to agriculture and cattle raising”, explains Durigan.

Geologist Carlos Durigan (Ricardo Oliveira/CENARIUM)

Greenhouse gases

The 1.5°C target is considered vital to avoid a climate collapse on the planet. Scientists’ projections range from 3°C to 5°C over the next 80 years, if no drastic control measures are adopted. In the last 100 years, the Earth’s average temperature (around 15°C) has risen by 0.8°C – of which 0.6°C was between 1990 and 2020.

According to the Ministry of Environment, currently, almost a quarter (23%) of global emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) come from agriculture and the logging industry. Together, the more than 100 signatory countries of the historic commitment, such as Russia, the United States, China, Australia and France, concentrate more than 85% of the world’s forests, an area greater than 21 million square kilometers.

Read also: In the opposite direction of the COP26 countries, Brazil increased its gas emissions by 9.5% in the pandemic

The System of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimates (Seeg), Climate Observatory, released last week a survey showing Brazil going against the world, with a 9.5% increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. The global average of emissions was reduced by 7%.

Financing

The Forest Deal, also called the “forest pact”, will have subsidies of US$ 19.2 billion between public and private resources as compensation to developing countries. The fund is less than 20% of the US$ 100 billion pledged annually to developing countries at COP21, held in Paris in 2015, as compensation for measures to combat global warming.

According to Agência Brasil, part of these resources will come from financing by 12 countries – such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, South Korea, members of the European Union, Canada, and Japan – with about R$68 billion expected by 2025. The objective is to support initiatives such as the recovery of degraded lands, fighting forest fires and supporting the rights of indigenous communities.

The private sector – represented at COP26 by CEOs from more than 30 financial institutions – will be responsible for another R$ 41 billion in financing. Of this total, R$ 17 billion should go to the Innovative Finance for the Amazon, Cerrado and Chaco (IFACC) initiative, aimed at promoting deforestation-free soy and cattle production in Latin America. Leaders of these institutions will also commit to no longer invest in activities linked to deforestation.