November 19, 2015 / 2:13 PM / 4 years ago

Brazil carbon emissions dip overall, but most sectors show increases

SAO PAULO, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 0.9 percent in 2014, according to a network of local environmental organizations, which expressed concern that only one sector, though a large one, showed a decline.

The drop last year to 1.558 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) resulted solely because Brazil managed to reduce deforestation after a spike in 2013, the Climate Observatory said in a report released on Thursday.

Though receding after an 8 percent jump in 2013, Brazil’s heat-trapping gases rose in all sectors last year except for land use change. Alterations in terrain, like deforestation, contribute most to emissions.

The nearly across-the-board increase is worrying, the Observatory said, especially considering the stagnant economic performance last year, which in theory could have led to a fall in emissions from most sectors.

“The data shows a stabilization of Brazil’s emissions of around 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2e since 2009, after a period of strong decline between 2005 and 2009 due to large reductions on deforestation,” said the report.

Brazil is among the world’s 10 largest carbon emitters and will be an important participant of the global climate talks in Paris early next month. There, countries will try to reach an agreement to limit greenhouse gases blamed for the increase in global temperatures.

In September, Brazil announced its intended contribution to the Paris deal, pledging to cut emissions from 2005 levels by 37 percent by 2025 and by 43 percent by 2030.

The report presented on Thursday said land use change still led Brazilian emissions last year at 31 percent of the total, closely followed by the energy and agricultural sectors.

But while carbon emissions from deforestation decreased, the share coming from energy jumped as the country resorted to thermal power plants last year to fight an electricity supply crisis after harsh droughts depleted reservoirs at hydropower installations.

The report showed that heat-trapping gases from the production of electricity increased by 24 percent in 2014 from 2013.

“In the past, emissions from the energy sector were a distant third place in the ranking by sectors in Brazil,” said Tasso Azevedo, a climate and forestry researcher who coordinated the study. “But recently they passed the agricultural sector and are now on their way to top the ranking.”

The Brazilian government has recently adopted policies to stimulate other renewable power sources, such as wind and solar, to diversify the energy mix and reduce dependence on hydro generation. (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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