Position papers
  • 29-Aug
  • 2019

Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture Manifesto to the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro.

 

The more than 200 members of the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a group that brings together representatives of agribusiness, environmental protection, the financial sector, and academia, express their concern about the escalation of deforestation and illegal activities in the forest. We ask the government to use all the necessary instruments to curb these practices.


Today, over 90% of deforestation in the Amazon is illegal. Other crimes are associated with this grave scenario, such as drug trafficking and tax evasion. The current government must take the necessary measures, since it has at its disposal the military and police apparatus and, therefore, should be a reference in the fight against illegality.


It is necessary to regain control of deforestation. We have already experienced periods when a significant drop in deforestation occurred amid a cycle of leaps in agricultural productivity. This history shows that deforesting is not necessary to increase agricultural production.


Agribusiness is being hampered by illegal gangs, tarnishing the industry's reputation, increasing legal uncertainty and unfair competition for producers and companies.


Field security also involves fighting forest fires. Although fire is regularly used in some agricultural practices, it is also used as a means to illegally open areas in the forest. The relationship between deforestation and fire is particularly strong in 2019. More fires in a milder drought year indicate that deforestation may be a driving factor of the flames. Combating illegal deforestation also involves curbing invasions of indigenous lands or protected areas, including for the purpose of illegal mining.


The government should create incentives for law enforcement, controlling criminal actions and increasing vigilance over clandestine activities. This is a common agenda between agribusiness and climate and environmental organizations.


It is also an agenda of interest to investors, as agricultural activities are directly linked to the climate issue, which affects a wide range of economic sectors. Climate change could cause significant financial losses, such as the California drought in 2015, which resulted in an estimated $ 2.7 billion in agricultural losses. On the other hand, Brazil has a great opportunity to attract new resources from national and international investors if it is able to monetize its environmental assets. In addition to remunerating the maintenance of the standing forest, these resources can have direct effects on our economy, for example, by incorporating the value of Brazilian environmental assets into the country's GDP.


Science corroborates the urgency of actions to combat climate change. The latest IPCC report makes it clear that there is no shortage of evidence on the urgency of the issue. Brazil, the global leader in remote sensing technologies, increasingly needs to use its scientific data to improve its public policies.


The challenge is great, but the country has a lot to gain. With its strong and competitive agribusiness, Brazil needs to secure the post of agri-environmental power, as it is home to the largest rainforest in the world, the highest biodiversity rates and 12% of the planet's freshwater. To this end, government policies need to focus efforts on addressing the climate crisis, controlling deforestation and illegality in the field and promoting sustainable agribusiness, enabling not only the fulfillment of the Paris Agreement, but also increasing the ambition of its goals to ensure the planet's climate, water and food security.


The Brazilian Coalition, on behalf of the sectors it represents - agribusiness, environmental protection agencies, academia and the financial sector - wants to help the government advance this agenda in a participatory and collaborative manner. The movement has a set of proposals that have been presented to various ministries and legislative representatives. Beyond administrations, this is a long-term state agenda and the path to sustainable development for Brazil.

 

About the Brazilian Coalition
The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was established with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that would lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 200 companies, businesses associations, research centers and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalition.

 

  • 26-Aug
  • 2019

August 23, 2019 – The year of 2020 will be a milestone in the recovery of carbon markets around the world. Starting this year, the main international agreements aiming to stop climate change and reduce the global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) will come into effect. Some main treaties signed include: The Paris Agreement and The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).


In addition to these treaties, there are many ongoing initiatives in Brazil. The National Policy on Climate Change (PNMC), established by law in 2009, promoted the development of a Brazilian Market of Emissions Reduction (MBRE). Since 2015, the country has been internally developing the Project Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR). The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture supports the immediate implementation of the MBRE, which considers not only emissions reduction, but also, the removal of carbon from the atmosphere as predicted in the PNMC. Thus creating a work agenda that stimulates synergies between the market and the valuation of forest assets.


In the context of international initiatives, both the Paris Agreement and CORSIA predict the structuring of market mechanisms, which should be operating in the next 10 to 15 years. Such mechanisms are expected to generate incentives that are important to emissions reduction and removal in different countries and regions. Brazil is one of the countries with the highest potential to attract international investments to mitigate its emissions, especially focusing on land use, forests, and agricultural sectors.


However, in order for Brazil to successfully attract international investments, the private sector and the federal and state governments must have an active dialogue with the organized groups of Brazilian society. This dialogue would allow for an understanding of Brazil’s potential to produce and manage mitigation results and would build a balanced process that contributes to the global reduction of GHG emissions.

It is worth remembering the goals set by Brazil within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Brazilian Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) [1] aims to reduce emissions in 37% by 2025 and 43% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. Most of this reduction is anticipated to come from the forest, land use and agricultural sectors, presently responsible for 70% of national GHG emissions [2].


The sectorial target to eliminate illegal deforestation in the Amazon (that is presently responsible for 90% of all the deforestation of the biome [3]) should represent the largest contribution to fulfilling the Brazilian NDC. However, due to the current trend of returning to previous deforestation rates [4] (mostly in the Amazon and Cerrado), Brazil is at risk for falling short of its national goals of GHG reduction. Other crucial targets that Brazil is at risk for falling short of include: to strengthen the compliance with the Forest Code at federal, state, and municipal levels, and to restore and reforest 12 million hectares of forests for multiple uses by 2030.


Resuming the reduction and control of deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado, as well as reforestation, will demand large volumes of financial resources and a permanent commitment from the government, private sector, and society in general. Different, yet complementary mechanisms are necessary to facilitate Brazil to reach its emissions reduction targets. Mechanisms that focus on structuring new financing strategies via market and results-based payment, capable of attracting investors, governments, and companies on behalf of the harmonic, inclusive and sustainable use of the land in Brazil, are essential to reach the national targets and promote large-scale reduction of emissions in the country.


Therefore, it is essential that Brazil implements initiatives which incentivize forest conservation and sustainable use, as well as, reforestation and restoration through a clear and effective program of forests’ environmental services valuation. It is also crucial to mobilize additional financial resources to complement the existent resources, such as, resources from international carbon markets, as predicted in the Paris Agreement (Article 6), in CORSIA/ICAO, and in the REDD+ systems.


The Brazilian Coalition defends structuring results-based payments systems and carbon markets based on four pillars. These pillars are meant to guarantee the environmental integrity of the global climate system, while promoting additional efforts to reduce emissions in countries and jurisdictions.


Carbon markets and results-based payments are a means of strategic implementation of most varied mitigation efforts. In this context, they also act as a structural incentive for sustainable efforts in order to increase ambition, which is crucial to an increased target in the Paris Agreement.


Pillar 1: Carbon markets should promote the additionality of the efforts to reduce GHG emissions. In other words, to reach respective targets, countries must primarily adopt public policies and national measures that lead to the decarbonization of their economies [5]. After reaching a certain level countries will then be able to complement these measures through GHG mitigation programs financed via carbon markets.


Pillar 2: National programs of net emissions reduction must rely on national systems of monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) in order to participate in international carbon markets. These systems will allow a sectorial performance analysis, in addition to mitigating risks of “leaks” and double counting.


Pillar 3: The supply and demand for emissions reduction in international carbon markets should be managed in a way that they won’t abruptly affect the price of other mitigation options. However, if properly administered, the inclusion of forest credits should allow more ambitious reductions to be implemented, involving all sectors of the economy.


Pillar 4: Investments deriving from results-based payments and international carbon markets regarding the forest sector should be invested in integrated rural development. To maximize results, it is important to achieve a balance between the resources coming from deforestation reduction and the protection and restoration of forests, with the resources designated to assuring the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the landscape as a whole, for example, such as resources that consider other activities of sustainable use of the land, such as reforestation, livestock intensification, and low carbon agriculture.


Conclusion


Brazil has a unique opportunity to become prominent in a low carbon economy. A system of carbon pricing via market pricing could incentivize the country to exploit the value of its forests, thereby, generating economic assets that can contribute to the sustainable development of Brazil. However, in order to obtain this result, it is necessary to find new mechanisms that promote the forest sector to attract a new influx of investments that mitigate emissions in the country, in synergy and complementarity with existing mitigation efforts.


If activities responsible for emissions reduction in the forest sector are not supported, the fulfillment of NDC will be more difficult, take longer, and be much more costly. Additionally, this lack of support would preclude Brazil from attracting the investments needed to generate emissions removals and reduction in large scale, and to promote activities linked to the standing forest economy, such as, but not limited to: the destination of undesignated public areas, low carbon agriculture, reforestation, forest restoration, and recovery of degraded areas.

 

Notes:


[1] See: Brazilian NDC aiming to reach the goals of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, submitted to UNFCCC in 2015.
[2] SEEG, 2017
[3] Mapbiomas
[4] INPE, 2019
[5] Examples: public policies to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, improvement in industrial processes and transportation, etc.


About the Brazilian Coalition
The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was established with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that would lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 200 companies, businesses associations, research centers and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalition.

  • 30-Apr
  • 2019

May 1st, 2019 – The intensive discussions about the legislation Brazil should have in place to allow for the conciliation of the agricultural production with native vegetation’s protection took almost five years. The process that resulted in the approval of the new Forest Code, in 2012 (Federal Law 12,651/2012), was one of the most vivid debates that ever took place in the Brazilian Congress, with large mobilization and participation of the different interest groups.


After seven years since its publication, the Forest Code has already reached important results, such as the more than four million records in the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) – equivalent to almost 100% of the area required to be registered – creating one of the most relevant geographic information systems on land use and occupation.


However, a constant scenario of legal insecurity prevents greater advances. Until last year, the deadline to register with CAR had been postponed four times consecutively, causing a delay of approximately four years in the conclusion of the registration phase. One of the consequences of this is the low adherence to Environmental Regulation Programs (PRAs); stage in which producers present their plans to solve the environmental liability they identified.


In December 2018, with the end of successive extensions of the deadline to register with CAR, it was expected that the legal security necessary to move to the regularization stage would have been installed. However, a series of Bills and Provisional Measures aiming to change mechanisms that are essential to implementing the Forest Code are being presented at Congress. These initiatives keep the legal insecurity environment and harm the efforts to implement the law.


Among the more than 190 members of the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, gathering representatives of agribusiness, the forest sector, environmental defense entities, and academia, there is a clear consensus: the implementation of the Forest Code, in its current configuration, is the first step to strengthen the agricultural production and, at the same time, the environmental conservation of the country. This moment has arrived and it can no longer be postponed.


The implementation of the Forest Code is also part of a set of measures against illegal deforestation and represents a way to value the efforts of rural producers that obey the law and are harmed by the unfair competition with violators. Great part of the deforestation of the Amazon is illegal. Fighting illegality should be any government’s priority. Strengthening legal agriculture contributes to the image of the sector abroad, guaranteeing access to the most demanding international markets.


Crosschecking land ownership data with land cover and use data shows us that the country has the second largest forested area in the world. One third of the native vegetation area of the country is found in private properties. This happens due to the legal requirement to keep areas of Legal Reserve and Permanent Preservation on their properties along with the excess kept by some rural producers that are above the percentage required by law.


At the same time, Brazil has the third largest agricultural production area in the world. Both experts on the subject and the Ministry of Agriculture itself agree that there is no longer the need to convert native vegetation into agricultural or livestock production areas.


The agricultural sector is the main beneficiary of conservation since its productivity is highly dependent on climatic conditions. Forests act as Brazilian agriculture’s “sprinkler”. Besides water, there are countless ecosystem services, such as pollination of the crops, that directly benefit agriculture.


Lastly, the implementation of the Forest Code is crucial to meet goals established by Brazil in the Paris Agreement. The Brazilian Coalition has already highlighted the gains the country has in remaining in the Paris Agreement, in view of its historic leading role on the topic.


It is imperative to uphold the law; we cannot waste time with new modifications on its mechanisms. For this reason, the Brazilian Coalition recommends to the National Congress and the Brazilian government that they concentrate their efforts on the next stages necessary to the effective implementation of the Forest Code. Some of the actions that urgently need to be implemented are: to direct resources to speed up CAR’s validation, to advance in PRAs regulation, to implement the instruments necessary to create a real demand for Environmental Reserve Quotas (CRA), and to regulate the article of the law regarding financial incentives to protect native vegetation – including payment for environmental services and the creation of the Brazilian Market on Emissions Reduction.


The Forest Code is the instrument essential for the sustainability of the agribusiness, for the development of the country, and for the welfare of all Brazilians. Its effective implementation can wait no more.


About the Brazilian Coalition


The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was born with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 190 companies, businesses associations, research centers and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalitioncoalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 14-Dec
  • 2018

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture and its more than 180 members that represent agribusiness, environmental protection entities and academia believe that the country has a lot to gain from staying in the Paris Agreement: the main international commitment on climate change.


The Paris Agreement represents an agenda of extensive opportunities. For rural producers, the commitment is seen as an important incentive to create mechanisms that are able to compensate producers that have a surplus of preserved areas in their properties, as a way to pay for the environmental service provided by these areas.


For forests and agriculture, the Agreement represents a clear sign towards a low carbon economy. A relevant part of the Brazilian economy is based on agribusiness, responsible for 23.5% of the National GDP and 19% of the formal jobs in the country. The sector is highly dependent upon climatic conditions to guarantee its productivity. Forests act as “sprinklers” of the Brazilian agriculture and to protect them is the best path to guarantee the sector’s continuity.


In global trade, Brazil, which today is responsible for 7% of the agricultural products in the planet, can attract more distinguishing features and competitiveness to its products. This would value its image and reputation and open new doors in international markets, which have been increasingly demanding producers to meet sustainability criteria.


All of these gains are possible results of Brazil’s support for the Paris Agreement combined with a national policy for the low carbon economy and coherent with the country’s trajectory as one of the leaders in international climate negotiations. The country has the obligation of keeping its leading role, out of respect for its history and responsibility to the planet.


Therefore, the Brazilian Coalition requests that the government considers the gains that the Paris Agreement can represent to many sectors of society. Thinking about the importance of this agenda, the Brazilian Coalition recently launched a vision for the future for forests and agriculture, in which the group members indicate goals for 2030 and 2050. For this reason, we believe that, in addition to continuing to support the global effort in reducing emissions, the country has to advance in this agenda as a long-term State policy for Brazil and the world.

 

About the Brazilian Coalition


The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was born with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 180 companies, businesses associations, research centers, and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalitioncoalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 08-Nov
  • 2018

November 8, 2018 – The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture received with concern the news that the president elect, Jair Bolsonaro, and his team are considering merging the Environment and Agriculture Ministries.


According to the letter published on October 24, addressed to the candidates of the Brazilian presidential elections’ second round, the Brazilian Coalition highlights that the merger of these ministries can threaten the necessary power equilibrium that has to be respected in the context of public policies. A regulatory agency cannot be submitted to a regulated sector, as a matter of coherence and governance.


In the past few years, the Brazilian Coalition has been working with these ministries with the goal of contributing to public policies synergy and complementarity of these areas. Both agendas (environment and agriculture) are essential to guarantee the balance between environmental conservation and sustainable production and need to be equally weighted in government’s decision making.


Moreover, the Ministry of Environment’s actions go beyond agricultural and forest issues, because they also involve licensing, pollution control, the use of chemical products, water safety, among others. The strengthening of federal institutions, such as IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation), is an essential condition to assure the government’s role in these agendas. Therefore, the environmental agenda is much broader than only agriculture’s issues.


The members of the Brazilian Coalition – representatives of agribusiness, environmental defense entities, academia, and the financial sector – are at the elected government’s disposal to present more details of the risks associated with this fusion, as well as to present the countless opportunities the country has in taking advantage of a low carbon economy. The Brazilian Coalition is a nonpartisan movement that presented 28 proposals to the main candidates of this year’s election and that continues open to contribute to the sustainable development of the country.


About the Brazilian Coalition


The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was born with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 180 companies, businesses associations, research centers, and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalition coalizaobr.com.br/en

  • 24-Oct
  • 2018

Open letter to the candidates of the Brazilian presidential elections’ second round, Mr. Fernando Haddad and Mr. Jair Bolsonaro

October 24, 2018 - In this decisive moment for the future of the country, the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture reaffirms the important commitment the country has with the world to assure humanity’s food, water and climate security.

Agribusiness is essential to our economy’s prosperity, since it corresponds to more than 20% of the Brazilian GDP. Moreover, Brazil is the third largest agricultural producer of the world, responsible for 7% of the world production, as well as one of the largest biofuels and forest products producer. At the same time, the country owns the largest tropical forest of the planet and stands in the global rank as the seventh largest carbon emitter, having more than 65% of its emissions attributed to deforestation and farming.

Brazilian agriculture depends on climatic conditions, such as rain, humidity and temperature. These conditions can only be assured by forest conservation. Protected areas, for example, whether conservation units, indigenous lands or quilombola territories, help to preserve ecosystem services that are provided by forests and fundamental to agribusinesses, such as: water, erosion reduction, mitigation of climatic extremes, and the pollinators and habitat necessary to plague and disease controllers. For this reason, the Brazilian Coalition has been stating that agricultural production and environmental conservation have to walk alongside. Our development, prosperity and well-being depend on this balance!

In this context, the Brazilian permanence in the Paris Agreement, and the legislation and environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture agendas are important to the sector: they guarantee the correct pricing of the current and future production and the Brazilian insertion in the most demanding international markets, such as Europe and Japan, in addition to maintaining the country’s historical protagonism in climate change negotiations and mitigation. Moreover, they contribute to global efforts in avoiding the temperature rise above 1.5°C, according to the most recent IPCC report developed by more than six thousand scientists.

Proposals, such as merging the Agriculture and Environment Ministries, can threaten a necessary power equilibrium that has to be respected in the context of public policies. In the past few years, the Brazilian Coalition has been working with these ministries with the goal of contributing to these areas public policies so they are in synergy and complementarity. Both agendas (environment and agriculture) are essential to guarantee the balance between environmental conservation and sustainable production, and need to be equally weighted in government’s decision making. Moreover, the Ministry of Environment’s actions go beyond agricultural and forest issues, but they also involve licensing, pollution control, the use of chemical products, water safety, among others. The strengthening of federal institutions, such as IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation), is an essential condition to assure the government’s role in this agenda.

In this context, it is crucial to emphasize that the greatest part of deforestation in Brazil comes from illegal activity. Fighting this illegality should be any government’s priority. Therefore, strengthening control authorities – including the Public Prosecution –, remote sensing technologies and data transparency should be guarded as not only means for environmental protection, but also for protecting the great majority of rural producers, who follow the law and suffer from transgressor’s unfair competition. Command and control actions are necessary and desirable to fight illegal deforestation and repress the illegal trade of timber, livestock, grains and other products.

Besides inspecting, the government also needs to implement the Forest Code’s mechanisms, which aim at solving the country’s environmental liabilities and at valuing landowners that follow the legislation and contribute to forest conservation. The Brazilian Coalition was created in a turbulent political moment of the country, in which the actors of the climate, forests and agriculture agendas were disarticulated due to the many divergences over debates that resulted in the approval of the current Forest Code. It was the desire to gather efforts in searching for common goals that mobilized these actors again. Without democracy, dialogue and transparency, this alliance would never have been possible.

Our movement is proof of the value that the democratic exercise of dialogue among the different sectors of society can represent. The more than 180 members, among agribusiness representatives, environmental defense entities, academia and financial sector, don’t share the same point of view, but they believe in the plural dialogue to build bridges, come up with solutions, and search for consensus. For this reason, the Brazilian Coalition cherishes the democratic environment to manifest its members’ point of view, the trust and respect among parties, on behalf of a new economy: based on low carbon emissions, and biodiversity and ecosystems protection.

This diversity is the centerpiece to deal with 21st century and climate change’s challenges. Therefore, the respect to public institutions needs to be assured as a guarantee of a free environment for civil society’s activism and, at the same time, favorable to businesses. It is this dynamic that allows the country to listen and answer society’s interests.

Thus, the Brazilian Coalition reaffirms some of its principles, such as the importance of the Paris Agreement, of strengthening the fight against illegalities in the forest sector, of implementing the Forest Code and of democracy. We ask the second round presidential election candidates, Mr. Fernando Haddad and Mr. Jair Bolsonaro, to comply with this letter’s principles and make sure that they will be respected as an agenda of the government; an agenda earned by the Brazilian society. The Brazilian Coalition is a nonpartisan movement that presented 28 proposals to the main candidates of this year’s election. The Coalition will be available to dialogue with the new elected government, willing to contribute to the advance of our agenda and to the country’s sustainable development.

 

About the Brazilian Coalition

The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture is a multisectoral movement that was born with the goal of proposing actions and influencing public policies that lead to the development of a low carbon economy, with the creation of quality jobs, stimulus to innovation and Brazilian global competitiveness, and generation and distribution of wealth for the whole society. More than 180 companies, businesses associations, research centers and civil society organizations have joined the Brazilian Coalitioncoalizaobr.com.br/en