Brazil’s climate change plan ‘ready for public scrutiny’

Sugarcane. Brazil will encourage the use of biofuels in the transportation sector. Copyright: Flickr/ex.libris

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A plan to tackle climate change and minimise its impacts in Brazil has been drawn up and is now open for public consultation.

The plan, formulated by several Brazilian government ministries and the Brazilian Forum of Climate Change — an umbrella organisation aiming to stimulate public awareness and dialogue, and incorporate climate change issues into public policies — will be available for public consultation until the end of the month (31 October).

After relevant suggestions have been incorporated, the plan will be sent to President Lula da Silva in November for approval.

"Brazil has done its part in the mitigation of climate change and is determined and committed to doing more, using its full national capacity as part of an overall effort to combat climate change," says the plan, released on 29 September.

The recommendations are organised into four lines of action: mitigation; vulnerability, impact and adaptation; research and development; and empowerment and divulgation.

Goals include getting 7,000 megawatts of power from renewable energy between 2008 and 2010, increasing production of ethanol from 25.6 billion litres in 2008 to 53.2 billion litres by 2017, and preventing the release 570 million tonnes of carbon dioxide between 2008 and 2017 by using biofuels.

Targets will be met by promoting sustainable development in the industrial and agricultural sectors, maintaining a high proportion of renewable energy in the electricity production, encouraging the use of biofuels in the transportation sector, and reducing deforestation.

Other elements include a moratorium on the selling of soybeans that come from deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon, and the elimination of ozone-damaging chlorofluorocarbon gases (CFCs) with the replacement of one million old refrigerators per year.

"This initiative is important because it helps to incorporate climate issues into all government programmes and projects," Suzana Kahn Ribeiro, secretary of climate change and environment quality of the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, told SciDev.Net. She adds that another important task of the new plan is to foster public awareness about climate change and its impacts on Brazil.

To support the plan, the Brazilian government will create economic, technical, political and institutional mechanisms, such as laws and funding, over the next few years.

The plan will be delivered in phases, beginning in 2009. "The National Plan on Climate Change is a dynamic project. During its execution, we can add new goals and strategies if necessary," says Ribeiro.

Link to the National Plan on Climate Change [in Portuguese]