Brazil’s public plan to save the planet goes a bit awry

In a side room at the U.N. climate conference Tuesday, a sweeping plan to curb global greenhouse gas emissions was being touted: it could save the planet from global warming.

Brazil’s Ministry of Environment says that over its next 16 years, developing the next-generation vehicles to help countries like China and India shift from fossil fuels and reduce global emissions. It would also put an end to deforestation.

It would plant more trees. In essence, the plan, called the Climate Viability Plan, kicks off the Aamcuatualamento, or Action Commitment, a broad Paris climate pact initiated by Brazil that backs up vague promises to fulfill the needs of indigenous people and their environment.

But every sustainable action plan must go by the test of hard statistics. And here’s where Brazil’s record leaves a bad taste.

• Worldwide deforestation levels have more than doubled since 1990, with Brazil losing nearly half its rainforest. Brazil’s development and changing demographic will only increase deforestation in the future. Brazil will be required to cut its forest loss by 80 percent if it expects to keep up with the Paris climate plan.

• Brazil is the largest producer of any gas, including petroleum, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That puts Brazil in an incredibly powerful position to influence how global carbon emissions should grow. A massive jump in coal use by developing countries will lead to huge increases in global carbon emissions and a higher risk of climate change, putting poor countries like Brazil at even greater risk.

• Brazilian President Michel Temer’s lead climate negotiator, Ernesto Pernambuchen, admitted earlier this year that “nothing has been implemented” and that he was just “posting things on the Internet.” Since 2014, Brazil has implemented several energy-related bills that have increased emissions – mostly through tougher fuel standards that are expected to raise auto prices and decrease fuel consumption, according to Bloomberg.

• Despite being in office for less than a year, Temer made a climate-related decision to expand the Agua Zarca dam, which, as reported by The Guardian, could have a “major impact on the Amazon” and destroy the remains of the largest rainforest in the world. He also has several other infrastructure-related reforms he wants to pass to increase oil production in Brazil, even as the OPEC oil cartel has been trying to enforce production cuts in order to send a message to consumers that they need to use less oil.

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