Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. This is the Global Sustainability Index scorecard for Brazil.
President Jair Bolsonaro has consistently shown a lack of concern in mitigating the climate crisis. Fossil fuels are set to play an important role in Brazil’s energy infrastructure and a steady increase in deforestation for agriculture means that the country will need to implement additional policies to meet its economy-wide NDC targets.
The progress that was observed in forestry emissions mitigation since 2004 has stopped, and the 2019 dry season broke records in deforestation and forest fires. The Bolsonaro administration has continued to weaken environmental institutions, including implementing substantial budget cuts, which has severely hindered the country’s ability to monitor, inspect and prevent environmental crimes, including illegal deforestation and logging. Because of the importance of the Brazilian Amazon as a carbon sink, Brazil urgently needs to strengthen mitigation measures in this area.
Further, the current administration has not implemented any new policies to curb emissions growth in other sectors. This is evident in the country’s agriculture sector, which is the second-largest contributor to Brazil’s emissions. The expansion of the sector is causing increased deforestation, despite data showing that expanding the agriculture sector through deforestation is not necessary to increase productivity.
Energy emissions are projected to grow around 15% from current levels by 2030. Infrastructure planning in this sector is concerning as it appears to favour fossil fuels, including coal and gas, with a lot of this expansion coming from as yet unexplored unconventional resources.
- Brazil is the 13th largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide. They are a unique position in regard to the climate crisis due to their responsibility toward the Amazon Rainforest. The mangroves, coral reefs and coastal habitats are also at risk if climate change is not mitigated. Brazil also suffers from mosquito-borne disease and extreme weather events, both of which could be worsened by climate change.
- Brazil is gradually turning its forests from a carbon sink into a source of emissions. It also is one oof the strongest producers of methane emissions due to its large cattle production. However, they also have one of the largest renewable sectors in the world, with a large portion of its electricity coming from hydro power.
- Despite pledges to curb illegal deforestation, political unrest, economic instability and the stances of the new president Jair Bolsonaro are reasons for concern.
You might also like: Global Emissions (2016)
Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.