Open letter: Brazilian opportunities in a low-carbon economic development agenda

12 June 2017

São Paulo, 12th June, 2017

Your Excellencies President of Brazil, Michel Temer, and Ministerial Officials of the Interministerial Committee on Climate Change (CIM):

Minister Aloysio Nunes (Foreign Affairs), Minister Blairo Maggi (Agriculture, Livestock and Supply), Minister Eliseu Padilha (Chief of Staff), Minister Fernando Coelho Filho (Mines and Energy), Minister Gilberto Kassab (Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications), Minister Marcos Pereira (Industry, Foreign Trade and Services), Minister Osmar Terra (Social and Agrarian Development) and Minister Sarney Filho (Environment).

President and Ministers,

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture1, a multi-sector movement formed by over 150 companies, associations, research centers and civil society organizations, announces this manifesto in response to the public consultation of the Ministry of the Environment on the strategy for the implementation of the Brazilian climate commitment (Nationally Determined Contribution on climate, NDC) presented at COP 21 in Paris. We acknowledge the efforts of the Brazilian Government and we congratulate the choice of a collective and participatory step in the construction of the NDC's strategy. The purpose of this letter is to gather and disclose Coalition's view on the Government's proposals and to increase our readiness, as well as our members’, to contribute to the construction of this strategy.

The main objective of the Brazilian Coalition is to propose actions and influence public policies that lead to the development of a low-carbon, competitive, responsible and inclusive economy. The movement also seeks to identify synergies between the agendas for protection, conservation and sustainable use of forests, agriculture, and mitigation and adaptation to climate change. These contributions are necessary because the forestry and land use sector represents the main opportunity to reduce the net emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) in Brazil2. At the same time, it is a central sector for the country, since Brazil currently represents 7% of the world's food production, and intends to reach 10% in five years3. Such leadership and ambition require commitment to the responsible use of its natural resources and to the economic valuation of renewable activities related to land use. The search for more balance between forest conservation and the efficient use of our soil for agricultural production is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for Brazil in the coming years.

The various organizations that form the Brazilian Coalition4 held a series of meetings to review the base document presented by the Ministry of the Environment. Therefore, the government's public consultation triggered an important conversation between members with different roles and expectations in the agricultural production and environmental conservation agenda. As a result of the consensus within this group, we understand that NDC's implementation strategy should not be treated only as a way to fulfill a public commitment, but rather as a low-carbon development agenda for Brazil that brings economic opportunities, achieving positive results in production, employment and income generation, and environmental conservation, simultaneously.

Betting on a low-carbon economy can bring Brazil to a new status in the international arena, since the adaptation to international market standards is a factor of competitiveness. It also demonstrates its commitment to the global climate change agenda, in which the country ranks as one of the world's largest emitters and, at the same time, as a potential leader of one of the most renewable energy matrices on the planet. Therefore, the country must contribute to the solution of this problem by reducing its GHG emissions5 and seeking means of implementation and opportunities that enable the necessary changes. Brazil's recent past demonstrates that it is possible to meet the demands of the productive sector and the commitment to reduce GHG emissions since the deforestation rates in the Amazon decreased between 2004 and 2012, the same period in which the Brazilian agricultural production grew significantly. We believe that this new economy will also bring fundamental social impacts, such as the creation of quality jobs, the generation and distribution of wealth, improvements in people's health, greater recognition and protection of indigenous populations and traditional communities, and other benefits to society as a whole.

Given the magnitude, diversity, complexity, and interdependence of the various measures involved in the NDC implementation, the Brazilian Coalition considers it is necessary to develop a national strategy based on integrated and not specific actions. The lack of transversality was identified by the Brazilian Coalition as the main flaw of the base document presented by the Ministry of the Environment, since the suggested actions are not connected to each other, although they are adequate for a NDC implementation strategy. In addition, the NDC is an opportunity to observe not only the transversality of actions, but also the transversality of the ministries, allowing more synergy and complementarity among them.

For the transition towards a new economy, and to structure new production and consumption patterns, some national and international economic mechanisms will be necessary. The action of the market force alone will not be enough to reach the climatic goals and economic turnaround if it is not regulated by public policies and instruments capable of inducing new vectors of demand and supply. These instruments include carbon pricing, payment for environmental services, REDD+, etc.

In addition, the regulatory frameworks of a low-carbon economy must also be strengthened, because these instruments will ensure security for investments and enable social control actions. In this aspect, the Brazilian Coalition stresses the role not only of environmental milestones, but of many others, such as the ones regulating the energy, logistics and concessions sectors, among others. These sectors can guarantee a modus operandi and a production flow that are consistent with the efficient use of the soil, from a life cycle perspective related to production and distribution chains, and the increase of the participation of the renewable energies in the Brazilian matrix.

It will also be necessary to structure the country's climate governance, indicating responsible agencies and implementation deadlines. Monitoring actions are critical to measuring the effectiveness of investments and understanding how to direct them in the best way. Together with governance, transparency is a necessary factor. This will allow society to monitor and evaluate the progress of the climate goals. Therefore, it is also necessary to guarantee mechanisms of participation and engagement for different participants.

Finally, the development, availability, access and diffusion of technologies for new economic models must complete the transition to a low-carbon development. Whether in agricultural production or forestry business, innovation is the driver of a new economy, which must be accompanied by training and technical assistance to workers.

This letter brings the main elements that the Brazilian Coalition understands should be reformulated and added to the Brazilian NDC's strategy. The appendices (available in Portuguese) detail and exemplify the points here mentioned and discuss aspects related to i. NDC's economic opportunities; ii. Strategy transversality; iii. Need for economic mechanisms; iv. Strengthening of regulatory frameworks and public policies; v. Investments in energy, logistics and infrastructure; vi. Governance, transparency and monitoring; and viii. Innovation and technology. With this, we hope to have contributed to this work and remain at the government's disposal.

Organizations that participate in the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture:

1Executive coordination: luana@coalizaobrasil.org | (55 11) 98433-7096 | coalizaobr.com.br
2Responsible for 46% of GHG emissions in 2015, according to SEEG (Greenhouse Gas Emission Estimate System) data.
3According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply.
4The Brazilian Coalition is formed by eight working groups, which bring members together in discussions about low-carbon agriculture, bioenergy, forest code, international cooperation, tropical forest economy, logistics, restoration/reforestation, and valuation and ecosystem services.
5The Brazilian NDC is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 37% below 2005 levels by 2025 with a subsequent indicative contribution of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030.

 

Access to the Annex 1 - Statement from the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture about the Public Consultation on the basic document to implement the Brazilian NDC

 

Brazilian Coalition's response to the public consultation in Portuguese:

 

About the Brazilian Coalition

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multi-sector movement established to propose initiatives and influence public policies that lead to the development of a low-carbon economy by creating decent jobs, encouraging innovation, Brazil’s global competitiveness and generating and distributing wealth across society. Over 150 companies, business associations, research centers and civil society organizations have already joined The Brazilian Coalition – coalizaobr.com.br/en