Analysis20 November

Brazilian carbon emissions up due to failed government policies

Sergio Abranches

Brazilian total greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) have increase 7.8% despite dismal economic growth in 2013. Official emissions data are not annually updated, but a coalition of think-tanks and NGO’s established the Climate Observatory to provide independent yearly estimates of Brazilian GEEs by sectors of economic activity. This independent research endeavor has provided estimates showing the trajectory of Brazilian carbon emissions since 1970 (since 1990 including emissions from deforestation). This increase in emissions reflects a reversal of the downward trend of total emissions observed since 2005, when deforestation rates started to drop sharply. While deforestation represented the major source of emissions, falling deforestation rates would bring emissions down, even if emissions from other sources were growing significantly. Over the last five years this situation has changed very much. More »

Analysis29 October

The Political Economy of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Reduction of climate emissions from deforestation (now known as REDD+) was among the innovations introduced in the Brazilian policy agenda during President Lula’s administration and Marina Silva’s tenure as Environment Minister. Ideas and policies related to reducing deforestation evolved along two different paths that eventually converged: one ideological and the other political. The ideological path started outside governmental circles, initiated by researchers from independent NGOs who used the meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a platform to raise issues and form a coalition strong enough to persuade the government and powerful domestic interest groups to accept an idea they had been opposing since the approval of the Kyoto Protocol. The political path took shape when Environment Minister Marina Silva created a space in 2003 for the open discussion of policies to reduce deforestation, bringing together NGO researchers and government officials. In the political space where the ideological and political paths converged, the decision of the Norwegian government to support the Amazon Fund (Fundo Amazônia), announced at UNFCCC’s COP13 in Bali in 2007, legitimized the idea and contributed to the paradigm shift in Brazilian deforestation reduction policy that eliminated obstacles to the introduction of a REDD+ mechanism as an official policy tool. This paradigm shift represented the abandonment of the official and dominant view of REDD+ as an undue intervention of foreign interests in domestic policy, to the view of REDD+ as a legitimate and legal mechanism of global cooperation to reduce emissions from deforestation. (CGD CLIMATE AND FOREST PAPER SERIES #10)

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Analysis06 March

Adiós Chávez

Sergio Abranches

Hugo Chávez passes away at a critical moment of Venezuela’s history. He has come to power at another critical moment of his country’s history. After leading a failed coup d’état, he became the Constitutional president by winning a regular presidential election. Venezuela faced, then, a deep political crisis due to the loss of legitimacy and credibility of the traditional political parties which dominated the country for more than four decades. Chávez dies when his country faces a deep political division at the social level, without firm leadership both on the opposition, and among the “chavistas” to lead the way forward. More »

Analysis14 December

Internet governance or Internet control?

Sérgio Abranches

A maneuver to introduce a clause about Internet governance on the International Telecommunications Treaty led to protest and several democratic countries declined to sign the document. They have strong reasons to refuse. The Internet was born to be self-governed. Not to become the subject of some organization’s dominance, be it multilateral or domestic. More »

Analysis03 October

Climate talks in Panama unlikely to end the logjam

Sergio Abranches

The last official preparatory meeting to the Climate Change Convention in Durban is taking place in Panama, since last Saturday. Negotiators will attempt to arrive at feasible drafts to be tabled at the next session of the Climate Convention, COP17, in Durban, South Africa. The signs are that an agreement on the core issues deadlocking conversations is unlikely to happen. More »

The Future Is Low Carbon

Sergio Abranches

Moving from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy entails replacing the global energy and industrial high-carbon infrastructure over the next decades. UN’s recent Economic and Social Survey 2011 – The Great Green Technological Transformation estimates replacement costs at $15-$20 trillion, or between one quarter and one third of global income. More »