Brazil has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 2.3% in the last year, according to data from the Climate Observatory’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimation System (Seeg), released on Wednesday (21). In 2017, 2.071 billion of this type of gas in the atmosphere was launched by Brazil — below 2,119 in the previous year.
The research indicates that this decrease is mainly due to the reduction of deforestation in the Amazon, which fell 12% last year. Gross emissions from forest loss in the Amazon fell from 601 million tons of carbon dioxide in the past year to 529 million tons in 2017. The figures reflected emissions from land use change — a technical term related to deforestation — that fell 5,5 percent.
Despite the setbacks, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions could have been higher, were it not for the almost 11% increase in deforestation in the “Cerrado“ in this same period. The activity reflected in increases in greenhouse gas emissions in the biome, which rose from 144 million to 159 million tons of carbon dioxide.
“Since 2010, emissions are skidding at the same level, due to a combination of the economic situation and the seismic seesaw,“ said Tasso Azevedo, Seeg technical coordinator, in a statement. “Despite the reduction in deforestation in the Amazon, there has been an increase in the Cerrado and after two years of decline, emissions from other sectors have been growing again. Brazil’s gross emissions per capita are still higher than the world average.“
According to Seeg, the reduction of deforestation in the Amazon and the consequent decrease in carbon dioxide emissions are directly related to greater supervision by IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources).
The agricultural sector is the most polluting
According to the Seeg, the agricultural activity is the one that contributes most to the emissions of greenhouse gases in Brazil. The sector accounts for 71% of all carbon dioxide emitted in the country, taking into account direct issues, such as methane produced by cattle herds, and indirect, such as deforestation.
The study also points out that, if Brazilian agribusiness represents an independent country, this nation would be the eighth most polluting in the world, ahead of countries like Japan. In the last year analyzed by the study, however, the sector reduced the emission of the greenhouse effect. In the bovine herd, the reduction was 1.5% in relation to 2016, contrasting with the increase of 4% in slaughter and 7% in meat exports.
In addition, to agribusiness, the energy sector was also responsible for a considerable part of the pollution accumulated in 2017. Only transportation accounted for about 10% of the country’s total gas emissions. Emissions related to electricity generation also increased due to the lower effectiveness of hydroelectric plants, which increases the use of thermometric plants.
Despite the advance, Brazil ranks seventh in the ranking of the most polluting countries in the world, according to the Climate Data Explorer of the World Resources Institute:
1 – China
2 – U.S
3 – European Union
4 – India
5 – Russia
6 – Japan
7 – Brazil
The Seeg study evaluated, for the first time, the gas emissions in the municipalities of the State of Sao Paulo. The same calculation was used in the 646 cities, taking into account the period from 2007 to 2015. The survey found that the city of Aluminum, in the metropolitan region of Sorocaba, has a per capita emission averages ten times higher than the world average. Each citizen of the province of Asturias issues 71 tons of carbon dioxide every year.
In contrast, the municipalities of Francisco Morato and Rio Grande da Serra are the least emitting: 700 kilos of CO² per year. The city of Sao Paulo is by far the most polluting in the state with an emission of 20 million tons of carbon dioxide, higher until some states of the country, such as Piauí and Paraíba