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Scientia Agricola

On-line version ISSN 1678-992X


CERRI, Carlos Clemente et al. Brazilian greenhouse gas emissions: the importance of agriculture and livestock. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2009, vol.66, n.6, pp.831-843. ISSN 1678-992X.

Data from the 1990-1994 period presented in the "Brazil's Initial National Communication" document indicated that the country is one of the top world greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters. A large majority of Brazil's GHG emissions come from deforestation mainly of the Amazon biome for agriculture and livestock land uses. This unique inventory is now out of date. Thus, the aims of this review were (i) to update estimates of the GHG emissions for the Brazilian territory, (ii) to estimate the sinks to provide calculations of the GHG net emissions for the 1990-2005 period, (iii) to calculate the actual and estimate shares of agricultural and livestock activities, and (iv) to discuss in light of the new figures and patterns the best mitigation options for Brazil. Total emissions in CO2-eq increased by 17% during the 1994-2005 period. CO2 represented 72.3% of the total, i.e. a small decrease, in favour of non-CO2 GHG, in relation to 1994 when its share was 74.1%. The increase of all GHG excluding Land Use Change and Forestry (LUCF) was 41.3% over the period 1994-2005. Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) - World Resources Institute (WRI) estimated a higher increase (48.9%) that classified Brazil at the 69th position. Using our estimates Brazil will fall to the 78th position. But in both cases Brazil increased in clearly lower values than the tendency calculated for China and India, two major emitters, with increases of 88.8% and 62.1%, respectively. Brazil's increase is less than those presented for some countries in Annex 1 that are submitted to a quota of reduction, e.g. Spain with 55.6% of increase and New Zealand with 45.8%. Brazil also is below the average increase shown by non-Annex I countries, estimated to be 61.3%, but above the world average (28.1%). Besides the effort to curb emissions from the energy and deforestation sectors, it is now a top priority to implement a national program to promote mitigation efforts concerning the agricultural and livestock sectors. These mitigation options should not be only focused on emission reductions, but also prone enhancement of the carbon sink. Such a program would be easy to be implemented, because several mitigation strategies have already proven to be efficient, simple to adopt and economically viable.

Keywords : CO2-equivalent (CO2-eq); soil; inventory; land use change and forestry.

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