Brazil Challenges Rich Nations to Better Its Climate Record

Aug 01, 2014 12:39 pm ET

(Updates with ministry’s comments in eighth paragraph.)

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Brazil said it reduced greenhouse-gas emissions by 3.2 billion metric tons in the five years through 2010, equivalent to nine months of output in the European Union and better than any rich nation.

Developed countries should focus on cutting their own emissions rather than urging others to do so, the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations said yesterday in an e-mailed response to questions.

Brazil is seeking to spur countries that have contributed most to global warming as talks under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change try to seal a post-2020 deal that applies to all. UN envoys have called for national plans for emission limits by a deadline of Aug. 31, 2015.

“It is high time for developed countries to act consistently and consequently with the course of action they prescribe,” the ministry said. “Confidence-building requires action, not talk.”

Brazil cut emissions from deforestation in the Amazon by 70 percent as of 2010 compared with 2005, the ministry said. It also pointed to a study published in Science Magazine in June. The nation’s total reductions in the period were more than double the 1.3 billion tons achieved by the entire 28-nation EU in the same span, according to European Environment Agency data.

Power Plants

China, the most populous nation, said in June it was working on how to cap its greenhouse-gas emissions for the first time. In the same month, the U.S. decided on measures to restrict emissions from existing power plants that may cut greenhouse-gas output by 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

Deforestation of the Amazon rose from a 24-year low last year, according to Brazil’s space agency, which tracks the data with satellite photographs.

The Brazilian ministry urged developed nations to pledge money for the Green Climate Fund, which is being set up as part of the UN talks. The fund will distribute some of the contributions targeted at $100 billion a year by 2020 to poor and emerging nations for emissions-cutting and adaptation.

“We will be monitoring closely how committed developed countries are to fighting climate change at the time of defining their pledges for the Green Climate Fund,” the ministry said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month promised 750 million euros ($1 billion) to the fund, the first major pledge it received.

UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon’s appointment last month of Mary Robinson as special climate envoy “will help to mobilize action and political support” for his leaders’ climate summit to be held in New York on Sept. 23, the Brazilian ministry said. Robinson was formerly president of Ireland and the UN’s high commissioner for human rights.

--With assistance from Alex Morales in London.