Natura chairman urges Brazil to be more ambitious on climate

2 minute read

An aerial view shows a dead tree near a forest on the border between Amazonia and Cerrado in Nova Xavantina, Mato Grosso state, Brazil July 28, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli/File Photo

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GLASGOW, Nov 9 (Reuters) - The climate change targets that Brazil has announced during the UN climate summit in Glasgow are not ambitious enough, said a founder and co-chairman of Brazilian cosmetics company Natura & Co (NTCO3.SA), which owns brands including Avon and The Body Shop.

Brazil announced new climate targets last week, pledging a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared with previous plans for a 43% reduction, while also seeking to end illegal deforestation by 2028.

But those reductions are calculated against emissions levels in 2005, which the right-wing government under President Jair Bolsonaro retroactively revised downward last year. Advocacy groups say that a 50% cut from the new baseline actually means a smaller reduction in the tonnes of greenhouse gas emitted than Brazil's prior commitment.

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Natura co-founder Guilherme Leal, the running mate on former Environment Minister Marina Silva's third-place presidential ticket in 2010, told Reuters that Brazil's new commitments did not go far enough.

"We could be more courageous in our ambitions," Leal said. "There is no doubt, I think Brazil can and should be more ambitious."

Bolsonaro's office, the Environment Ministry and the Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Leal has worked to organize hundreds of executives and other leaders in Brazil in a group called the Amazon Concertation, urging the government to do more to protect the environment after deforestation soared since Bolsonaro took office in 2019.

His comments follow concerns from scientists, indigenous leaders and environmentalists saying they did not believe the government would keep its promises given Bolsonaro's track record.

Deforestation has surged under Bolsonaro to levels not seen since 2008, with an area the size of Lebanon cleared last year.

Leal said increasing the climate target was a step in the right direction but not enough.

"They are positive signals but I think the credibility is very low. The federal government, through its diverse agencies, needs to effectively show that it will keep its promises," Leal said.

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Reporting by Jake Spring in Glasgow Editing by Brad Haynes and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Global Climate & Environment Correspondent, based in Brazil. Interests include science, forests, geoengineering, cryosphere, climate policy/diplomacy, accountability and investigative reporting. His work on environmental destruction under Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro received awards from Covering Climate Now and the Society of Environmental Journalists. Previously based in China, he is fluent in Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese.