Brazil announces greenhouse gas emissions goals

Brazil announces greenhouse gas emissions goals
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Brazil officials will pursue a 43 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as part of a United Nations climate agreement, though it will rely on its past work to curb deforestation to meet the goal. 

President Dilma Rousseff announced the target during a speech at the UN General Assembly on Sunday, Reuters reports. Brazil was one of the last major polluters to announce its reduction targets in the lead-up to this December’s climate conference. 

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Brazil’s 43 percent goal is over 2005 levels, and the country will rely on anti-deforestation work it’s already done to meet the mark. Deforestation accounts for 15 percent of greenhouses gasses that enter the atmosphere annually.

The country’s greenhouse gas emissions have already fallen 33 percent between 2005 and 2013 due to its work on deforestation, according to Reuters.

"Brazil is one of a few developing countries to commit to an absolute emissions reduction target," Rousseff said in her speech. "We have one of the world's largest populations and GDP, and our targets are as ambitious or more ambitious than those of developed countries.”

Rousseff had initially pledged to curb illegal deforestation during a meeting with President Obama in June, though the country will, notably, continue to allow legal deforestation. 

Brazil has lost almost 20 percent of its forest cover since the 1960s, due largely to its increasing agriculture space. In June, the country agreed to restore 12 million hectares of forest, roughly the the size of Pennsylvania.

On Sunday, Rousseff also pledged to increase the country’s share of renewable power to 23 percent by 2030 from 15 percent today. 

Brazil is the world’s seventh largest greenhouse gas emitter, and one of the last major polluters to announce a reduction goal before this December’s climate conference. The United States has pledged to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent between 2005 and 2025.