Brazil's carbon emissions rose 9.6% in 2019 with Amazon deforestation - study

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s carbon emissions increased by 9.6% in 2019 mainly due to higher deforestation in the Amazon during the first year of President Jair Bolsonaro’s government, a report published on Friday said.

FILE PHOTO: Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil, September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly/File Photo

The data indicates that Brazil will fail to meet its carbon emission targets for this year and is moving away from its 2025 target.

Brazil emitted 2.175 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2019, according to SEEG, the most comprehensive study on the topic in the country.

In 2018, CO2 emissions had reached 1.98 billion tonnes, which was 0.3% more than in 2017.

Brazil had managed to reduce emissions from 2004 through 2012, but the new data confirms that this trend has been reversed despite the voluntary targets agreed to before the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit. Those targets were then set into Brazilian law and became binding for the government.

“We are dangerously going in the wrong direction,” said Tasso Azevedo, a climate expert who coordinates the SEEG study.

“Since regulation of the national climate law in 2010, Brazil has increased by 28% the amount of greenhouse gases it discharges into the air annually, instead of reducing it,” he said.

The growth of emissions in 2019 was driven by sky-rocketing deforestation in the Amazon, which accounted for 44% of Brazil’s total CO2e emissions, the study said.

Changes in land use towards farming and increased cattle ranching was the second contributor to emissions, it said.

In 2018, Brazil’s carbon emissions had remained stable despite increasing deforestation because they were offset by a larger use of clean energy sources such as ethanol and wind power.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Cynthia Osterman