COP26 sheds light on the role of Brazilian agribusiness in the face of climate change
Brazilian agribusiness was represented at the 26th UN Climate Conference held from October 31 to November 13 in Glasgow, Scotland, and part of its expectations were met by the Glasgow Pact - a document signed by the leaders of over 190 nations represented at COP26. If, on the one hand, expectations regarding the expected funding of U$ 100 billion per year by developed countries for developing countries were not met, on the other hand, the rule book of the Paris Agreement was closed, with the conclusion of Article 6 and the creation of a Global Carbon Market. In the negotiations, Brazil took on the role of facilitator, and is no longer considered a blocker of the agenda. The carbon market will also incorporate old credits from the Kyoto Protocol, which had been generated in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, and has been on Brazil’s list of demands for a while. However, there will be a cut-off date, i.e., only CDM credits from projects approved up to 2013 may be included.
A key message for Brazilian agriculture was made loud and clear - fighting climate change and preserving tropical forests will be good business for Brazil. André Guimarães, from the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), pointed out that the integrity of Brazilian forests, mainly the Amazon, but also the Cerrado and the Atlantic Forest, besides playing a central role in maintaining global climate, will also bring benefits for agriculture, as forests are responsible for maintaining the rainfall and climatic conditions that make Brazil a major global food producer.
"Brazil is one of the few countries in the world that can benefit from conserving forests and fighting deforestation. The world today is a buyer of standing forests. We can look at all this pressure that Brazil has suffered, economic, reputation-based, as a glass half empty that will lead to retaliation. But the view of the full glass is that the world is telling us that if we want support to keep the forest standing, it is
willing to support us," he said. According to him, the post-COP period will be crucial for the creation of the conditions for this support to be transformed into funds, projects and investment opportunities for the sustainable economy in the future.
Marcello Brito, chairman of the board of directors of the Brazilian Agribusiness Association (ABAG) highlighted the strength of Brazilian agriculture and said that it is shameful that there is still illegal deforestation in the country. Citing data from MapBiomas, he pointed out that agriculture has increased as compared with pasture in recent years, and that 99% of Brazilian properties have no evidence of deforestation, with 1% responsible for 70% of private deforestation in Brazil. "The rest, we know, comes from public land grabbing."
Brito said that Brazilian agribusiness is on the right path with the application of new technologies for food production through low carbon agriculture, innovation with integration of crops, livestock and forests (ILPF), agroforestry systems, and others. "Emissions from Brazilian agriculture and cattle-ranching over the last 15 years have been dropping." According to him, international agreements signed at COP26 and signed by Brazil - such as the Forest and Methane Agreements - should not be a reason for concern for those who are committed to low carbon agriculture. Brito also said that forums such as the Brazilian Climate, Forests and Agriculture Coalition (Coalizão Brasil Clima, Florestas e Agricultura) and that of the A Coordination for the Amazon initiative (Uma Concertação pela Amazônia), which were represented at the Climate Conference, show that it is possible to build bridges.
The panel named "Solutions for gaining scale in low carbon emission practices in Brazilian farming and cattle-ranching" held at the Brazil Climate Action Hub - the Brazilian space at COP26 - on November 6, further strengthened the argument that it is possible to implement sustainable practices in Brazilian farming and cattle-ranching. During the debate, Minerva Foods presented the results of a pilot study that confirmed good results in lowering emissions and carbon sequestration from the application of good agricultural practices in 25 farms located in five Latina American countries.
Imaflora also presented the Carbon on Track initiative, developed with the support of Minerva. "This program values Brazilian low carbon farming. The purpose of the platform is to present sectoral data of cattle-farming and, in the future, also of grains and restoration, to disclose and disseminate good practices to other companies and producers", explained Isabel Garcia Drigo, coordinator of Climate, Agriculture and Forests of Imaflora. Transparency in field management, according to researcher Raoni Rajão from the Federal University of Minas Gerais will be an assumption more and more required by foreign markets. Watch the video.
In the panel, participants also looked into issues regarding the advantages of tracking mechanisms for fighting deforestation and offered solutions to further the land use agenda and the role of subnational governments in developing regional climate action plans. It was clear in the debate how important it is for public policies to be science-based. Mauro O' de Almeida, Secretary for the Environment for the State of Pará, presented the results of the Green Seal initiative for the cattle chain.
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