The Paris Agreement, which was celebrated on a Saturday evening December 12, 2015, was born as a diplomatic success. Signatures from countries were signed on the same day and went into effect less than a year later.
With long-term goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the treaty signals the transition from investing to an economy less reliant on carbon emissions and other causes of global warming.
Since then, however, optimism about the larger global climate effort has turned into tension as right-wing leaders on the move linked to movements that deny climate change, particularly in key countries for the climate change agenda: the United States, the largest historical greenhouse gas emitter , and Brazil, owner of the largest tropical forest in the world.
The five years of the Paris Agreement, marked by the elections of Presidents Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, are marked by the deal’s political resilience, which was affirmed by leaders in Europe and China during this period. It will also be included in trade agreements, as is the case with the agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, the vote of which by the European Parliament depends precisely on clarifications on compliance with the climate agreement, which should mean a reduction in deforestation in the Amazon.
The Paris Agreement strategy is based on targets freely announced by each country – the fixed national contributions or NDCs submitted in 2015 that need to be updated every five years with more ambitious targets.
The countries have to submit their new climate targets to the Paris Agreement by the end of December. The leaders of the countries with more ambitious goals should speak this Saturday (12) at an event organized by the United Nations in collaboration with the United Kingdom, which will host the next climate change conference in 2021. The Brazilian government expected its proposal last Tuesday (8) but was not accepted by the event organization.
With a change in the basis of comparison, the new Brazilian target offers room for increased emissions. the only ban on the agreement to update the objectives.
“We say to the countries of South America and Africa: We will no longer buy the same products that we consumed in the past. The pattern is changing, ”Yvon Slingenberg, Director of Climate Protection at the European Commission, told Folha.
“Without commenting on Brazilian environmental policy, we fear that the forest sector, which is vital to reducing emissions in Brazil, is not included in the new target [do Acordo de Paris, divulgada nesta semana pelo governo Bolsonaro]“He added and also criticized the fact that the Brazilian deadline for achieving carbon neutrality is dependent on the implementation of a carbon market. Brazil ruled this point out of the UN negotiations. “If you make your transition dependent on an external factor, it does not help the country itself to signal where the economy and society must go,” says Slingenberg.
Slingenberg also points out that private investment will be of fundamental importance – including for the $ 100 billion per year promised by developed countries from this year – and that the European Union should launch a financial strategy next March to force companies to uncover the risks associated with their dependence on fossil fuels and steer the financial world towards green investments.
The economic signals of the Paris Agreement are already having a visible impact in these five years. That comes from a report released this week by consulting firm Systemiq that focuses on sustainable businesses.
“This direction [dada pelo Acordo de Paris] increased the confidence of heads of state and government in sending consistent political signals. This in turn created the conditions for companies to invest and innovate and for scalable “zero carbon” solutions, from vehicles and trams to alternative proteins. [à carne bovina], even sustainable fuel for aviation, ”the report says.
Research shows that since 2015, low-carbon solutions in the energy sector have ceased to be a niche and become a mass market, while solutions in transportation, agriculture, land management and aviation were still developing in a niche market. The report assumes these sectors will move towards a massive market by 2030.
This is also the bet made by companies in the renewable energy sector, particularly solar and wind. In its annual report, Statkraft, one of the largest renewable energy companies in Europe, says that the segment was able to continue to grow even during the pandemic. The company is also investing in Brazil and predicts that “by 2030, 20% of Brazilian electrification will come from wind and solar sources”.
However, the country is below the target of expanding renewable energies and has lost five positions in the ranking of climate performance by the organization Germanwatch, which has classified Brazilian climate policy at the lowest level.
Despite stabilizing energy consumption, Brazil also increased its emissions during the pandemic due to high levels of deforestation. In the annual emissions gap report, Brazil appears as one of the largest emitters in connection with deforestation, alongside Indonesia and the Congo.
On the other hand, the country, along with China, Russia and the United States, is one of the largest carbon absorption tanks by managing protective units to preserve the forests.
Globally, greenhouse gas emissions rose from 53 billion tons in 2015 to 55 billion in 2020. However, carbon dioxide, which causes the most emissions, has slowed emissions in recent years and has suffered a record drop in quarantine. contain the Covid-19 pandemic. The main impact is due to the reduction in emissions from the transport sector, which are responsible for almost 20% of global emissions.
With the pandemic, 2020 is expected to end with a 7% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. If the rate is repeated annually for the next decade, the world can meet the Paris Agreement goal of containing up to 1.5 ° C in global temperature increases. The biggest bet for going down this route is adopting sustainability criteria for post-pandemic economic recovery plans.
What makes the possibility of a green economic recovery even more optimistic is a new study published this week by the journal Nature Climate Change. For the first time, it has been shown that reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement can already have climatic benefits in the next 20 years and slow global warming before 2050.