- COP23 has the task of establishing the basic rules of the Paris Agreement. One of the urgent issue is to ensure ambition of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), basing the Paris agreements. According to UNDP, official NDCs account for one-third of the effort required to keep the average global temperature rise by less than 2 degrees.
- Brazilian NDC promises a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 37% compared to 2005 levels in 2025, with a subsequent indicative contribution of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43% compared to 2005 levels, in 2030.
- The state of Mato Grosso is key to achieve these goals, since it is the second state with the largest emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) in Brazil, representing around 10% of Brazilian emissions. Mato Grosso’s emissions come mainly from agriculture and land use change, with deforestation and forest fires accounting for 67%, while agriculture accounts for 28% (SEEG, 2017).
From Mato Grosso to the world: the potential of REDD+
- Mato Grosso also stands out as one of the main laboratories for building solutions to climate change. If deforestation is the cause of about 8% of global emissions, deforestation reduction and deforestation-free agriculture solutions are one of the most cost-effective solutions and represent about 30% of the mitigation needed to fight climate change. There are already instruments being implemented such as policies of Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD +), aiming to implement actions in the field to reduce deforestation.
- A contract of 17 million euros / 60 million reais between the German international cooperation bank, KfW, and the State of Mato Grosso for the implementation of the REDD+ Early Movers (REM) Program is to be signed on November 14th at the Amazon Bonn event. In the current Brazilian economic and political crisis, this cooperation/program? will be key to maintain forests through new command and control activities, support for small farmers and traditional communities, and access to markets for deforestation free products. Contributions from other donors of equal or greater amount could also be announced and ongoing discussions on private partnerships are promising.
- To transform this potential into sound investments to face the huge challenges, an alignment on a common strategy for the Amazon forest is lacking between the Brazilian federal level and the Amazon states. It reflects, for example, in the current Brazilian portfolio of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which focus on Certified Emissions Reductions from Amazonian hydroelectric dams that violate rights of traditional populations, generating dubious carbon credits contaminated by national corruption scandals. In comparison, helping to protect forests through REDD+ could provide $ 60 billion to the country in ten years.
There are still major challenges for the deforestation reduction in MT
- In 2015, the state of Mato Grosso made ambitious announcements regarding the reduction of deforestation and the implementation of deforestation free supply chains. Mato Grosso signed the 2020 Zero Illegal Deforestation Commitment with the federal Ministry of the Environment and the state of Acre and launched the Produce, Conserve and Include (PCI) Strategy resulting from a commom vision for Mato Grosso in 2030 among diferente sectors of Mato Grosso society. It states fora sustainable, inclusive and productive future, where the state, supported by society and private sector, commited to reduce deforestation by 90%, reaching 571km² / year in the Amazon forest and 150km² / year in the cerrado, and to recover 2.9 million hectares of forest by 2030.
- These commitments contrast with the current situation in the state. Deforestation continues at an alarming level, above 1.3 thousand km² / year, a level that the governor Pedro Taques himself described as unacceptable in Paris. Deforestation is still 90% illegal, with 47% of deforested areas within properties registered at the federal Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) and a 37% increase in deforestation polygons with more than 100 hectares. It means the deforestation is being done by capitalized big landholders whose name and address are easily traceable, showing the illegality is still worth. Parallel to this, the wave of socioenvironmental setbacks that spread through Brazil also weakened the forests of Mato Grosso: the 1,5 thousand km² of Serra de Ricardo Franco Park would have been extincted and the Guariba Roosevelt Extractive Reserve would have lost more than a thousand square kilometers of its territory if a strong mobilization of the State Attorney and civil society had not taken place.
- Public efforts to address the situation fall short on what is needed. In one hand, the PCI strategy made structural steps establishing a strategic planning, a monitoring system and an investment portfolio, on the other hand it is lacking political decisions and priority to guarantee deforestation reduction. Key tools such as the implementation of Mato Grosso’s Meat Institute (IMAC) traceability protocols, the regulation of the Forest Code for smallholders, and the public disclosure of environmental information to control rural activities have made little progress. The enforcement operations to fight deforestation at state level have significantly reduced: until September 2017, only 17% of 2016 deforested area had been embargoed for environmental violations. Likewise, the advanced police base in the northwest region of the state has not yet been established. To ensure that COP23 REM signature is only a start for Mato Grosso fund raising the state will need to effectively control deforestation.