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Brazil to set tougher climate change target, sources say

Brazil to set tougher climate change target, sources say

BRASILIA, May 22 (Reuters) – President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva plans to commit Brazil to a more ambitious climate change goal this year, addressing criticisms of the previous target set by his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, two sources told Reuters.

In 2021, amid growing global outrage over Bolsonaro’s light-touch stewardship of the Amazon rainforest, his government pledged to cut greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2030, up from a previous commitment of 43%.

But Bolsonaro’s government used a higher, 2005 baseline – a move that made it easier for Brazil to reach its target compared with the previous pledge and that was widely criticized by environmentalists.

Brazilian lobby group Climate Observatory calculated that the Bolsonaro target would allow an additional 400 million tonnes of greenhouse gas to be emitted, compared to the prior target.

To address those issues, Lula’s leftist government intends to maintain the 50% reduction but fix the issue with the baseline, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Both spoke anonymously as the move is not yet public.

The goal is to issue the revised target, known as a “nationally determined contribution” under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, later this year. After the change, the target will be “more ambitious,” one of the sources said.

The government is exploring ways to simplify the target, including issuing the exact number of gigatonnes of greenhouse gas that the country will seek to reduce, the source added.

Neither Brazil’s Environment Ministry nor a representative for Bolsonaro responded to requests for comment.

Lula took office on Jan. 1 with a pledge to restore Brazil as a global leader on climate change. Bolsonaro had appointed climate skeptics to key positions and presided over soaring levels of Amazon deforestation, the largest source of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Reporting by Jake Spring; editing by John Stonestreet

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Jake Spring reports primarily on forests, climate diplomacy, carbon markets and climate science. Based in Brazil, his investigative reporting on destruction of the Amazon rainforest under ex-President Jair Bolsonaro won 2021 Best Reporting in Latin America from the Overseas Press Club of America ( His beat reporting on Brazil’s environmental destruction won a Covering Climate Now award and was honored by the Society of Environmental Journalists. He joined Reuters in 2014 in China, where he previously worked as editor-in-chief of China Economic Review. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese.


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