Standing forest: a good deal for Brazil
Invited at the meeting with journalists promoted by Suzano, this Thursday (21), André Guimarães, executive director of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), said that Brazil’s role in the climate agenda is inexorably linked to land use . In this sense, Guimarães highlighted the country’s potential in generating environmental services from the standing forest.
Given the need to change to a sustainable economic model, which will require large investments, the maintenance of forests and carbon sequestration through restoration and regeneration are pointed out by Guimarães as the main sources of resources for this transition.
When analyzing Brazil’s position in the sustainable development process, the executive director of IPAM highlighted the agricultural power that the country has become and the global respect it has earned for its role in food security. Investment in technology, tax incentives and public policies were attributes presented as responsible for agricultural development and that elevated the country to the level of largest producer and exporter of commodities in the world, but which also generated great impacts.
“This great agricultural development consumed half of the cerrado and 20% of the Amazon. This was the environmental price we are still paying,” he said.
André presented the reasons for Brazil’s change of route and entry into what he called the “new global reality”, referring to the world’s commitments to combating climate change. According to him, three quarters of Brazilian emissions are linked to land use and, of this total, approximately 60% come from deforestation, which requires a new way of relating to these environmental assets.
“One hectare in the Amazon has 400 tons of CO2 equivalent, which is the unit traded in the carbon markets. At US$ 10 a ton, we are talking about US$ 4,000. What are the land use activities that generate US$4,000 per hectare? Livestock generates $100 at best,” he notes.
Benefits for the country
The executive director of IPAM believes that the country has everything to benefit from taking an aggressive and ambitious stance in combating climate change and, specifically, in combating deforestation, its main source of emissions. Although the Brazilian government is going against the grain, he says, the strength of the state in fighting illegal deforestation is essential in this process.
Recalling that between 2002 and 2012 Brazil reduced deforestation in the Amazon by 80%, Guimarães said that, in addition to fighting illegality, forest preservation contributes to the maintenance of rain cycles.
“Fundamentally, we are going to preserve our water cycling capacity. 90% of our agriculture is not irrigated, it depends on the rain cycle,” he said.
The executive director of IPAM recalled that the maintenance of forests ensures long cycles of rain, characteristic of Brazil, and, consequently, provides three grain harvests a year.
According to André, all the benefits of preservation for Brazil are included in the report produced by Coalizão Brasil Clima, Floresta e Agricultura, a group formed by business associations, companies, civil society organizations and individuals interested in contributing to the promotion of a new low-income economy carbon. In the document, addressed to Brazilian negotiators attending COP26, the group states:
“Increasing ambition is good business for Brazil, ending deforestation faster is good business for Brazil. Eliminating illegality is good business for Brazil. We preserve the forest, contribute to the climate, improve our reputation, harmonize water cycles and put ourselves back on this agenda”.