Sustainability: Brazilian Perspectives and Challenges after the First Kioto’s Protocol Period

Sustainability: Brazilian Perspectives and Challenges after the First Kioto’s Protocol Period

Renato Bonadiman (DD&L Consultores, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/jsesd.2013070104
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During the first Kyoto Protocol period (2008-2012) the carbon market evolved globally as well as Brazil. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, which promote technology substitution in order to obtain “cleaner” processes, had an expressive participation. Within this scenario, Brazil and mainly China applied a considerable number of projects. However, in the case of REDD (Reduction from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and REDD+, the complexity of discussions regarding legal issues, carbon reduction/mitigation methodologies, complexity around methodologies, resources distribution, costs, etc., associated with the world economic crisis, slowed down this process. Reflection of that can be seen through the carbon allowance price deterioration resulting in the prediction of retraction in the 2012 market size. In this sense, the scenario after the first period of the Kyoto’s Protocol, presents many challenges, but also presents opportunities. Legislations are emerging from different parts of the globe and also in Brazil. They indicate the nucleation of future obligations around the control and reduction of GHG emissions. Also, efforts to increase carbon allowances quotations are also being planned. Bilateral agreements are emerging being bottom-up alternatives for a global carbon commercialization scheme. On top of these actions an agreement to the creation of a billionaire fund until 2020 create great expectations around the development and growth of the carbon markets presenting the sustainability issue as an unquestionable trend to the upcoming years.
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To deal with the rising problem regarding climate change, the United Nations issued the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 (UNFCCC, 1992), which is considered to be the first international climate treaty. The UNFCCC became legally effective in 1994. Three years later in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol (UNFCCC, 1997) was adopted on December 11, 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, and entered into force on February 16, 2005. Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialized countries (Annex I countries) agreed and committed to reduce the collective greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 5.2% from the 1990 level. The first period of the Kyoto Protocol is from 2008 to 2012, and the corresponding GHG emission reduction commitments by the Annex I countries expired at the end of 2012 (Hu, 2012).

Despite the rapid growth of carbon offsets over the past decade, sustainable development objectives for the developing world are lagging (Boyd, 2009; Olsen, 2007; Sutter, 2007). Deforestation and land change is still an important issue. It contributed to approximately 20% of GHG emissions during the period 1990–2000 and has represented a percentage of 12% in 2008 due to the significant growth of global fossil-fuel emissions (Moutinho, 2005; Le Quéré, 2009). Therefore, incentivizing reductions in GHG emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conserving and enhancing forest carbon stocks and sustainably managing forests (REDD+) have emerged as a key international strategy to halt land-use change in developing countries and involve them in climate change mitigation efforts (Angelsen, 2009). A future REDD+ mechanism could transfer billions of dollars from industrialized nations to tropical developing countries each year (Ballesteros, 2011).

A number of prospective REDD+ interventions may deliver positive solutions, generating considerable optimism (Busch, 2011; Christophersen, 2011; Djoghlaf, 2010; UNFCCC, 2011a). However, there is growing evidence that even where multiple benefits is possible REDD+ policy decisions face significant carbon–biodiversity trade-offs (Hirsch, 2010). The CDM was developed to reach a twofold agenda: reduce GHG emissions by facilitating the trade of carbon offsets between industrialized countries that ratified the Kyoto protocol and the developing world while simultaneously contributing to sustainable development in the host countries (Benessaiah, K., 2012). The present paper provides a vision regarding Brazil’s perspectives and challenges within this context.

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