Brazil figures at 18th in the race for net zero emissions, says study
In Latin America, the country was only behind Chile
Brazil ranks at 18th among 32 countries in the Net Zero Readiness Index 2021, carried out by the international consultancy KPMG. The study assesses achievements on 103 topics towards zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Brazil, Chile (16th) and Argentina (22nd) were the three South American countries in the top 25 at the ranking, based on progresses and already established initiatives. Norway, United Kingdom and Sweden, respectively, are leading the score globally.
The managing partner of ESG at KPMG in South America, Juanita López, comments that such analysing are quite relevant in a post-COP26 context (26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change).
“Countries have committed with Paris Agreement and to release the climate targets update before the next edition of the conference. Fulfilling these objectives will require collaborative work between governments and all sectors of civil society, especially the private sector”, she says.
During COP-26, Brazil has announced new targets for reducing GHG emissions, committing to a net emission reduction of 50% by 2030 and carbon neutrality (net zero) by 2050.
According to the KPMG report, Brazilian GHG emissions in 2021 were distributed this way: 65% deforestation, land use and agriculture; 12% for industry; 2% in civil construction; 14% in transportation and 7% for electricity.
The country uses hydropower for electricity largely and develops other renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biofuels.
“Brazil is working to diversify its sources of green energy, considering the difficulty of expanding large hydroelectric solutions due to the enormous need for land from hydroelectric reservoirs and the lack of reliability in dry seasons”, evaluates the energy leader partner at KPMG South America, Manuel Fernandes.
However, in the last three years, deforestation and fires in forest areas have worsened the country’s results. The study says that Brazil’s businesses are economically dependent on agriculture and are working to adopt technologies that reduce their emissions.
“However, this work is hampered by deforestation and forest fires in recent years, which are extremely detrimental to the country’s ability to achieve Net Zero”, the report noted.
A study published in the scientific journal Nature in April 2021 found that some areas of the world’s largest rainforest are net emitters of CO2 due to tree loss, and that the Amazon region was a net contributor to climate change between 2010 and 2018.
In addition, lower volumes of rain are pushing up hydropower prices and driving the country to be increasingly dependent on liquefied natural gas imports.
Thus, commercial as well as environmental advantages of clean energy have reversed their course to some extent and this requires significant land reclamation and reforestation to sequester CO2.