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Brazil

Brief description:

ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE - POLICY AND PROGRESS

Background and Emissions

Brazil is a developing country yet its complex and thriving economy is ranked eighth in the world. It was the first country to sign the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that resulted from the 1992 Rio de Janeiro meeting, in June 1992. It ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2002 as a Non-Annex 1 Party, and was one of the first major developing countries to set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.

In November 2009, ahead of the UN’s COP15 meeting, the government pledged to reduce the country’s emissions by 36.1% to 38.9% in 2020. This target became national law in December 2010. Brazil has stressed that any mitigative measures are voluntary and achieving its target requires international financing. Climate Action Tracker has rated Brazil's efforts to achieve emissions reductions as ‘medium’.

As a result of various climate change programmes and initiatives, Brazil has a comparatively “clean” energy mix, with low GHG emission levels per energy unit produced or consumed. In 2009, around 84% of Brazil’s power was generated by hydroelectric plants. With the discovery of its extensive sub-salt oilfields, Brazil is close to becoming a major oil producer and exporter.

Government pledge press release, November 2009

Brazil has no ETS scheme, and a state-wide ETS for large emitters in Rio de Janeiro, expected in June 2012, has been delayed. Commentators believe other states may join the consultation process, leading to a national system covering the oil, steel, cement, ceramics, chemical, and petrochemical sectors. 

Emissions

Brazil’s second national communication, submitted to the UNFCCC in 2010, provides the most recent emissions figures – from 2005 – when the country emitted an estimated 1638 teragrams (1638 million tonnes) of CO2. The land-use change and forestry sector contributed the most, at 77% of emissions, followed by the energy sector, which accounted for 19%. In the LUCF sector, 67% of emissions resulted from the Amazon region and 22% from the Cerrado. Within the energy sector, road transport contributed 39% and the industrial sub-sector 27%. Specific CO2 emissions from the hydrocarbons sector were not itemised.

Download Brazil’s second national communication to the UNFCCC in 2010

Issues and challenges

Brazil is the largest country in South America. It has 186 million inhabitants and an average population growth of 1.15% per year. In 2008, 84.4% of the population lived in urban centres. Demand for electricity has been growing faster than production and the country’s economy, a trend expected to continue. The government has recognised the need for a new energy strategy, and emissions from coal are expected to increase due to the country's plans to install 6000MW of coal-fuelled power by 2030 (representing 2.7% of the national grid compared to 83% from renewables).

Brazil is the main exporter of several agricultural products – for example, coffee, tobacco and corn. It is one of the world’s largest manufacturers (cement, aluminum, chemicals, petrochemical feedstock) and is soon to become a major exporter of oil. All of these factors have implications for Brazil's efforts to reduce GHG emissions.

A significant proportion of the population still live in poverty and lack access to good healthcare, education and water. Therefore, national priorities are to meet these social and economic needs. However, the UNFCCC believes mitigation of and adaptation to climate change impacts is possible alongside these priorities.

Impact of climate change

In 2007, the publication of the IPCC's fourth assessment report on climate change impacts sparked national concern. Preliminary results suggested a devastating potential impact on the natural environment and urban areas by 2100. A case study on the Amazon region, within the IPCC report, can be read here.

In a worst case scenario, research by the National Institute for Space Research suggested the average temperature of the Amazon region could increase by 8C, leading to the loss of huge areas of the world's biggest rainforest. This would affect its capacity to absorb carbon as well as having a catastrophic effect on biodiversity and the rain cycle - which would also affect rainfall in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and South Africa. Other studies have suggested that 60% of rainforest could be lost by the end of this century if the average global temperature rises between 3C and 4C.

Rising sea levels would seriously damage the Brazilian coast, including homes and businesses, and the destruction of vital ports. There is also the potential for hurricanes to cause massive damage to cities that are home to around 25 million people. More frequent droughts and erratic weather systems would have an obvious impact on agriculture. Climate change is already being felt in the south, which has been hit in by droughts and intense storms in recent years.

ClimateChangeCorp article, March 2007

Government commitments

Brazil has established a Climate Change and Environmental Quality Secretariat responsible for climate change matters, as well as policies and instruments to regulate the carbon market. As a UNFCCC non-Annex I member, Brazil can access the Clean Development Mechanism.

Brazil’s GHG reduction targets announced before the UN’s COP15 meeting in 2009 – see above – led from a National Policy on Climate Change from the same year. The law behind the policy also included the Second Brazilian Inventory of Anthropogenic Emissions by Sources and Removals by Sinks of Greenhouse Gases not Controlled by the Montreal Protocol, a key part of Brazil's emissions monitoring and reporting.

In order to meet its targets, the country has set up initiatives in sectors such as agriculture and energy. The country has also set ambitious goals for reducing emissions from deforestation – the country's main source of GHG emissions.

Within the energy sector, Brazil is focusing on energy efficiency and the use of alternative sources of energy. Several programmes are under way to move towards lower emissions sources, such as natural gas. Since 1984, nuclear power has generated 152TWh of electricity. Renewable energy is expected to become a more significant source of energy, including 'modern' biomass, small hydro-electric plants, wind energy, solar energy, tidal power, and geothermal power. Other measures include integrating agricultural systems and an increase in energy supply from hydroelectric. A summary of Brazil’s mitigation actions, published by the UNFCCC in March 2011, can be read in more detail here.  

Brazil hopes to show its commitment to sustainable development and thereby attract international investment. Foreign investors have already taken note that Brazil has 13% of the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects under way. More about the CDM here.

The government’s Ministry of Science and Technology is responsible for coordinating UNFCCC commitments. Its 2007-2010 Action Plan of Science, Technology and Innovation for National Development includes a National Climate Change Programme, which aims to increase technological capacity, identify climate change impact and guide public.

In 2000, the government set up the Brazilian Climate Change Forum as an arena for the exchange of ideas. It involves representatives from government, academia, NGOs and business but has no formal powers. It has no specific role in debating the use of CCS.

CCS policy and legal frameworks

The government has given its formal support, through the UNFCCC, for fast-tracking research into CCS technologies as well as the development and deployment of those already at demonstration phase. However, while acknowledging the role of CCS, it does not believe CCS should form part of the CDM framework.

Brazil does not have any specific policies or legislation to encourage the deployment of CCS technologies in Brazil. The IEA’s May 2011 review of CCS policy and legislation did not include a submission from Brazil.

State oil company Petrobras has been a long-term proponent of CCS and is leading the way in its R&D and deployment (see below).

There is no federal policy of imposing charges for GHG emissions and, as of early 2009, there was no national emissions trading scheme. The Petroleum Law of 1997 includes the protection of the environment and requires the National Petroleum Agency to enforce environmental preservation actions.

With regards to infrastructure, the construction and operation of facilities related to oil and gas distribution are regulated by government, with the need for licensing by Brazil's environmental protection agency.

The rights of Brazil's indigenous peoples with regard to land and water are enshrined in the Brazilian Federal Constitution of 1988. Without specific CCS legislation in place, and with further legal requirements relating to environmental protection, the deployment of CCS could become complex unless there is full support from the federal government and public acceptance.

A detailed assessment of Brazil’s legislation with regard to the deployment of CCS – across the full chain – can be found in GCCSI’s 2009 country study.

CCS initiatives and projects

Petrobras and a national university launched the Energy and Carbon Storage Research Centre in 2007. The facility focuses on public acceptance of CCS and explores ways to make it commercially viable. The centre is funded by Petrobras. The Brazilian National Research Council already funds work to develop criteria for choosing potential CO2 storage sites.

Brazil has significant experience in the technology required for CCS development and deployment, with Petrobras having over 25 years’ experience of CO2 injection for its EOR operations. Its work is supported by organisations such as the Centre of Excellence in Research on Carbon Storage (CEPAC) and the Brazilian Coal Association (BCA).

CEPAC, launched in 2006, is a joint initiative between Petrobras and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul to analyse the realistic potential for CO2 geological storage in Brazil, in all sectors. CEPAC has also conducted a risk analysis for ranking storage reservoirs and will be releasing a storage atlas at the end of 2011.

The BCA is also considering CCS and is currently part of a joint venture with the Ministry of Science and Technology to build a clean coal centre.  It is also working with the NETL in the US to develop a coal gasification programme.

The most significant CCS project to date in Brazil is by Petrobras. In early 2011, it announced plans to sequester CO2 as part of EOR operations at its massive deep-water Lula oilfield – which has an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil. For more details, follow the link below.

There are a number of operating and planned CCS demonstration projects, including the Petrobras Miranga Project and the CEPAC Carbometano Porto Batista Project. More details via project links below.

Within R&D, the Brazilian CCS Network, led by Petrobras, has established twenty CCS research projects around the country to work on every aspect of the CCS chain. It has also held a number of international CCS conferences within Brazil.

Petrobras is currently evaluating the technological and economic potential for CO2 storage within EOR operations in the pre-salt discovery areas, saline aquifers, heavy oil reservoirs in the Santos Basin oilfields and depleted gas fields - as well as storage in salt caverns, to be constructed in the pre-salt area. The country is also assessing the non-geological use of captured CO2, and biomass combined with CCS is attracting some attention - with its potential to create negative emissions.

The Brazilian Carbon Facility, a non-governmental initiative set up in 2005, connects carbon project developers to potential investors.

Storage

The results of the CARBMAP project - the Brazilian Carbon Geological Sequestration Map - were presented in early 2011. Given Brazil's many sedimentary basins, the project aimed to identify appropriate sites for long-term CO2 storage in oilfields, saline aquifers and coal seams. Phase I began in 2006–2007 with the mapping of stationary CO2 sources using a geographic database. The second phase, currently under way, is focusing on developing a viable integrated geographic information system.

CARBMAP presentation, May 2007

International co-operation

The CO2 Capture Project is a partnership of seven major energy companies – including Brazil's Petrobras – which aims to develop the technologies necessary for the deployment of industrial-scale CCS. It was set up in 2000 and has carried out more than 150 projects relating to the science, economic feasibility and technological requirements of CCS. The international group has been working closely with the US Department of Energy, the European Commission and more than 60 academic bodies and global research institutes.

The project is now in its third phase and announced in April 2011 the start of an oxy-combustion capture pilot trial on a fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCC) at a Petrobras research complex in Parana state, Brazil. The trial aims to confirm the technical and economic viability of retrofitting an FCC unit with carbon capture through oxy-combustion. The results are awaited. More details here.

CCJ article on FCC unit, April 2011

Other information

The current status of CCS development in Brazil, April 2011

Brazil’s National Plan on Climate Change 2008 (predating its national policy)

Ministry of Science and Technology

Petrobras

National Petroleum Agency (ANP)

 








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