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Brazil pledges big emissions cut

delhi Updated: Nov 16, 2009 00:36 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
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Brazil has become the first major developing country to announce 36.1 to 38.9 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2020, putting pressure on developed nations to do the same.

The cut will be in accordance with the projected emission figures of the South American nation for 2020.

Other developing nations such as India and China have announced national action plans, but officially haven’t set any voluntary emission cut targets for 2020.

“It is voluntary and not binding commitment,” Dilma Rousseff, president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s chief of staff, said in Sao Paulo on late Friday.

He expressed hope that the move would help break deadlock in negotiations for the global summit at Copenhagen that gets underway on December 7.

“Brazil is aiming at having a political statement on climate change at Copenhagen, with the US as a party to it, even if there is no treaty,” said Shirish Sinha, head of climate division at WWF-India.

The European Union has sought a political statement at Copenhagen. The US has ruled out accepting any cuts until the Senate passes a domestic emission law.

Developing nations, including Brazil and India, are allowed increase in their carbon emissions, under Kyoto Protocol, without any binding commitment to reduce them. The protocol term for it is business as usual scenario.

“China will reduce its emissions,” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had said at the UN in September, without stipulating a target. The fastest growing Asian economy is expected to announce an emission cut action ahead of the Copenhagen summit.

India, too, could do the same. “It (emission reduction) ranges between 13 and 15 per cent from business as usual scenario,” said a government official, on condition of anonymity.

“What Brazil has done is not unusual,” India’s climate negotiator Pradipto Ghosh said.

“It is up to each country to announce what they want to do for climate mitigation. We have National Action Plan on Climate Change…”

Reducing emissions is much easier for Brazil than for India and China, where fossil fuel consumption is the biggest source of emissions.

Brazil’s proposal contains no specific cuts for industry. It means that much of the reduction will come from its vast forestry and farm sector. In 2008-09, the deforestation of the vast Amazon forests has been the lowest in the last 21 years.