What is your candidate going to do about global warming?
OC has investigated what the presidential candidates promise about fighting deforestation, promoting clean energy and other topics related to climate change
special for the OC
On the one hand, promises of zero deforestation, green tax reform, compliance with the Paris Agreement and recognition of the rights of nature in the Constitution. On the other hand, proposals like demoting the environment agenda to a subitem in a program dedicated to agriculture and relaxing environmental licenses’ standards to accelerate permits. When the subject is environment and climate, programs from seven leading candidates for the Republic Presidency in 2018 are heterogeneous. Observatório do Clima has mapped the proposals for the area in the government plans of seven presidential candidates and produced a summary of how each one is positioned.
Climate change is the main environmental and economic challenge to be faced by mankind, as the rise in global temperature depends on a development model that today is dominant, and its consequences affect virtually all countries. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon even said that this is the “moral challenge of our generation.”
To find out how the best-placed presidential candidates deal with the issue, we summarized the climate proposals in the government programs registered in the Electoral Court by Ciro Gomes (PDT), Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB), Guilherme Boulos (PSOL), Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) João Amoêdo (NOVO), Fernando Haddad (PT) and Marina Silva (REDE).
There are candidates who dedicate whole chapters to the issue in their government plans — case of Marina Silva, Haddad and Boulos. The three plans provide a more detailed context on deforestation, energy matrix with low greenhouse gas emissions and on using natural resources as engines of development and social inclusion.
Mention is made of incorporating green taxation strategies to encourage more sustainable technologies, tax burden revision – the Haddad program talks about reducing the fiscal cost for green investments by 46.5%; Marina talks about “decarbonization” of the tax structure, improving the intervention contribution in the economic domain (CIDE, tax on fuels), according to carbon emissions and, in the medium term, incorporating a carbon taxation in the context of a broad tax reform.
Boulos, meanwhile, proposes to abandon the use of fossil fuels in an energy transition that will open space to wind and solar sources, without continuing the construction of large hydroelectric plants and the Angra 3 project. But the decision to ban fossils of the energy matrix conflicts with the pre-salt context: Boulos’s program talks about the cancellation of the auctions already made and invokes the resumption of investments by Petrobras, which contradicts the initial objective.
Despite the detailed plans for renewable energy topics, the programs of the three candidates have few concrete targets for achieving the objectives – except for the installation of photovoltaic panels, where Marina sets the target of 1.5 million small and medium-sized photovoltaic solar roofs projects by 2022. The Haddad program proposes to install solar energy generation kits in 500,000 residences per year.
Goals for deforestation
When it comes to changes in land use, Boulos talks about zeroing deforestation in all biomes in the next ten years; Haddad says he will commit to a zero rate of net deforestation (offset deforestation of new areas with reforestation) by 2022; Marina already talks about “achieving zero deforestation in Brazil in the shortest possible time, with a deadline of 2030″. Both Boulos and Marina set deadlines that go beyond the four-year presidential term, but do not say whether they will create decrees to fix them. Few programs specify whether they are talking about deforestation in all biomes or only in the Amazon.
With a leaner government program, the candidate Ciro Gomes does not go so far as to devote a chapter to the environment / climate theme, but relates it to his development policy. The PDT presidential candidate says that “most of the conflicts observed in environmental policy are the result of an artificial opposition between two interrelated concepts, ecology and economics,” and states that his government will deal with economic development, reindustrialization, agriculture and infrastructure with a perspective of environmental preservation. His government plan calls for actions to contain deforestation and meet climate targets by 2020, but does not provide details of what actions will be taken in practice to meet those goals.
In the more liberal spectrum, Alckmin and Amoêdo dedicate few lines to the environment and climate, promising to honor the commitments made in the Paris Agreement (without detailing goals and strategies) and to apply the Forest Code (Law 12.651 / 2012) as a way to harmonize agricultural production and conservation of forests. No more daring proposal for the area appears in the list of candidates, who seem comfortable in complying with the laws and commitments that already exist.
Bolsonaro is the candidate who devotes less attention to the subject: environment only appears as one of the subordinate items to the ministry he intends to create, merging agriculture and natural resources. There is no mention of climate, climate change or the Paris Accord – although the PSL candidate has stated in interviews that if elected, he would withdraw Brazil from the commitment to perceive it as a threat to “national sovereignty.” Only in the energy area does the candidate address the issue in his plan, saying that he intends to stimulate renewable sources such as wind and solar photovoltaics, especially in the Northeast. The PSL candidate proposes to reduce the regulatory and oversight role of the Ministry of the Environment, reducing the domain to an instance subordinated to the new ministry of agriculture he intends to create.
Most candidates speak of making efforts to comply with the Paris Accord, but without setting clear strategies and targets. The global agreement, signed in 2015 by 195 countries at the United Nations to stop global warming, was ratified in the following year by Brazil, which means that the country will have to fulfill its commitments. It is also not a simple alternative to get out of it, as the PSL candidate intends – the ratification was approved by the Chamber of Deputies and Senate, which would also have to approve the exit of the country from the commitment.
Adapting to the climate crisis
One concern noted by the OC is that, although climate change is barely mentioned on the political agenda, its effects can already be felt. The year 2017 was considered the hottest in history, according to NOAA, the American oceans and atmosphere agency. In Brazil, the worsening of extreme events, such as droughts and floods, is also a reality: 48.6% of municipalities have suffered from droughts in the last four years, according to IBGE. The coast is vulnerable to sea level rise: 18 of the 42 Brazilian metropolitan regions are located in the coastal zones, where the sea can rise up to 40 cm by 2050, in the most pessimistic scenario. Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Recife, Fortaleza, Salvador and Vale do Itajaí (SC) are among the regions most prone to flooding and extreme weather events. The climate must also have an impact on different crops, including soybeans, sugarcane and coffee.
Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, however, receives little space in government programs – Marina Silva speaks of supporting municipalities to put into practice contingency plans and monitoring of climatic extreme events, with the aim of preventing and mitigating the impacts of disasters (droughts, floods and landslides). Haddad’s plan also speaks of “urban resilience” to reduce the risk of disasters through measures that promote adaptation to climate change. It calls actions such as investments in urban defense, drainage, control and mitigation of flood risks, river decontamination, slope containment in risk areas and strengthening of natural disaster monitoring and alert systems. The two programs do not list adaptation targets for Brazilian cities that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Although climate change is a crucial theme for planning the country’s development, the issue has received little attention in the 2018 electoral debate. With the mapping of proposals that the OC offers here, we would like to encourage campaign teams and press to give the climate issue the importance it deserves in the presidential race.
See below the main proposals of the Republic Presidency candidates for the axes of climate, energy, deforestation and agriculture.
List of candidates
- Putting into operation actions to implement climatic targets of greenhouse gas emission reduction until 2020 as defined by the Paris Agreement
- Articulating with other countries to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement
- Designing pollution pricing model (definition of taxation forms for those polluting or enhancing the market for carbon emission certificates), with the creation of financial compensation mechanisms for impact activities
- Developing a system with information on the country’s carbon emission, per issuer
- Stimulating the adoption of renewable energy such as biofuels, biomass, hydropower, solar and wind, through public policies
- Promoting coordination between the current systems and financing lines for environmental and sustainability research, including energy
- Oil: to repurchase all Brazilian oil fields sold abroad after the Law of Sharing (Lei da Partilha), paying indemnities
- Designing strategy to reduce deforestation
- Implementing the Conservation Units (CUs) already created in Brazil with due indemnities and / or resettlement
- Preparing a plan for the formation of local productive arrangements in the surroundings of these units, focused on the provision of services to them, as well as the development of sustainable tourism
- Creating concessions to the private initiative of areas and public equipment for economic exploitation of services allowed in CUs
- Supporting the management of productive associations of forest communities and the implementation of infrastructure necessary for the development of productive chains
- Ordering land use and occupation in Brazil, assigning areas to productive systems in regions already modified by human action
- Promoting the compatibility of the agendas Brown (National Environmental Policy), Green (New Forest Code) and Blue (National Water Resources Policy)
- Developing specific agricultural pesticides for our crops, of less toxic content for people and the environment; encourage the adoption of alternative control systems in agriculture
- Pursuing “hard” the goals of the Paris Agreement
- Use the ODS (Sustainable Development Objectives) as a reference in the Brazilian external relationship
- Prioritizing policies that allow the North and Northeast regions to develop their potential in areas such as renewable energy, tourism, industry, agriculture and creative economy
- Nothing declared
- Strengthening Brazil’s leadership in agriculture by transforming the Harvest Plan into a multi-year plan to give predictability to agricultural policy rules
- Ensuring agricultural peace and security in the countryside
- Honoring the commitments made in the Paris Agreement: reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and restore 120,000 km² of forests by 2030
- Recognizing the “rights of nature” in the Constitution, as was done by countries like Ecuador and Bolivia
- Overcoming the use of fossil fuels and transitioning to low-carbon renewable energies (such as wind and solar), ban hydraulic fracturing of shale gas, which has a high environmental impact
- Transport: modernizing the sector, prioritizing collective transport and under rail (for freight and passengers); reversing the culture of the automobile in major cities
- Stimulating the electric car and reducing oil demand
- Nuclear power plants: keeping the Angra 1 and 2 plants in operation until the end of their useful life; suspending the works and re-discuss with civil society the continuity of the Angra 3 project
- Hydroelectric plants: suspending the construction of new plants
- Pre-salt: reversing all privatization legislation of oil exploration and Petrobras
- Transforming Petrobras from an oil company into a “democratically managed” public energy company, with a sector focused on developing renewable energy
- Zeroing deforestation in all biomes in a decade: for this, it will be necessary to establish a goal to restore forests with native species
- Establishing a policy to stimulate increase of agricultural productivity in areas already deforested
- Promoting increase of effectiveness in the monitoring of agricultural activity and land appropriation; confiscating property associated with environmental crimes
- Create new protected areas
- Using taxation to stimulate conservation, combating the evasion of rural land tax (ITR)
- Creating financial incentives to increase productivity and change the agricultural production matrix
- Fostering the agriculture of healthy food, prioritizing vegetables, “focused on the food security of the Brazilian people”
- Limit commodity production to exports
- Nothing declared; candidate told the press that he intends to withdraw Brazil from the Paris Agreement because it represents “a threat to national sovereignty”
- Developing the potential of the Northeast in renewable sources: solar and wind; expand energy production and the entire related chain, such as production, installation and maintenance of photovoltaic panels
- Carrying out the environmental licensing of PCHs (small hydroelectric plants) within a maximum of three months
- Increasing the role of natural gas in the national electric matrix
- Nothing declared
- Creating a new federal agricultural structure, responsible for: agricultural policy and economy (includes trade); natural resources and the rural environment; agricultural defense and food security; fishing and fish farming; sustainable rural development; technologic innovation
- Nothing declared
- Expansion of renewable energy in the energy matrix
- Ending subsidies for non-renewable energy such as gasoline and diesel
- Eliminating illegal deforestation
- To definitively reduce illegal deforestation in the Legal Amazon, with more technology and spection (sic).
- Applying the Forest Code
- Advancing the Rural Environmental Registry and promoting more cooperation between involved agencies
- Introducing strategic ecological transition agenda, which will put environmental, territorial, regional, productive, technological, scientific and educational policies as allies
- Carry out a green tax reform, with a progressive increase in the cost of pollution and a prize for low-carbon innovation;
- Exempting “green” investments (exemption from IPI, deduction of taxes embedded in capital goods and immediate recovering of ICMS and PIS / COFINS), reducing the tax cost of green investment by 46.5%
- Without raising the tax burden, creating a carbon tax, which has already been adopted in several countries to increase the cost of greenhouse gas emissions
- Supporting and encouraging states and municipalities to adopt an urban environmental management policy that provides reduction of energy consumption, the emission of pollutants that affect air, soil and water quality and of greenhouse gases
- Building an energy model that will have as guidelines: 1) the resumption of public control, interrupting privatizations; 2) increasing of investments to expand generation with renewable energies (solar, wind and biomass); 3) fair rates; and 4) social participation
- Retake the strategic role of Eletrobrás and Petrobras
- Install photovoltaic kits in 500 thousand homes per year
- Boosting the micro and mini-generation of renewable energy by the possibility of selling surplus energy produced by homes and companies
- Modernizing the existing electrical system: plants, replacement of liquid fuels and coal by natural gas and biofuel, incorporation of future technologies in the transmission grid (smart grid)
- Pursuing increase of energy efficiency
- Strengthening the Reluz Program and extend the Light for All Program to isolated locations in the Amazon
- Resuming investments in clean transportation infrastructure, with diversification of means of transport, including railways, waterways and less polluting means
- Assuming the commitment to zeroing net deforestation rate until 2022 and to end the agricultural frontier expansion
- Supervising compliance with the Forest Code, including the Rural Environmental Registry
- Strengthening the protection of conservation units and other natural assets
- Improving mechanisms of governance in relation to the Amazon, through federative dialogue and social participation in decision-making processes
- Creating instruments that value the production and commercialization of agricultural products in a sustainable way; promoting the economic valuation of natural resources preservation in rural properties
- Using, for the expansion of agricultural production, the more than 240 million hectares already open for agriculture and pasture
- Implementing the Forest Code with deadlines, “without further extensions or delays”
- Promoting a new generation of policies and programs focused on the agrarian issue, family agriculture and agroecology in Brazil, with a reform in the institutional environment.
- Developing, in partnership with public organizations, universities and civil society, strategic projects for rural settlements
- Aligning public policies (economic, fiscal, industrial, energy, agricultural, livestock, forestry, waste management and infrastructure) to the objectives of the Paris Agreement
- Complying with the commitments assumed by Brazil with a long-term strategy to decarbonise the economy, with zero net emission of greenhouse gases by 2050
- Decarbonising the tax structure: in the short term, improving the contribution of intervention in the economic domain (CIDE, tax on fuels), with an additive according to the intensity of carbon
- In the medium term, incorporating a carbon tax into the national tax system, in the context of a broad tax reform
- Implementing the Brazilian Emission Reduction Market and other mechanisms to introduce the pricing of greenhouse gas emissions
- Promoting urban development that includes reducing greenhouse gases between priorities
- Supporting municipalities to implement contingency plans and monitoring of climatic extreme events for the prevention and mitigation of impacts
- Urban mobility: developing policies that encourage modalities with low emission of pollutants, generation of clean, renewable and energy-efficient energy; replacing vehicles powered by fossil fuels by electric and powered by biofuels
- Eletrobrás: privatization will be analyzed in the context of the national energy policy; should modernize its strategies to incorporate renewable energy
- Petrobras: will take a leading role in clean energy investments
- Enhance energy efficiency by stimulating regulatory incentives and targets at all stages: generation, transmission and distribution to consumers
- Promoting mass installation of distributed solar photovoltaic power plants in vulnerable cities and communities: target is 1.5 million small and medium-sized photovoltaic solar roofs by 2022, representing 3.5 GW of operating power
- Renovabio: implementing the biofuel program, which is expected to create 1.4 million jobs by 2030
- Achieving zero deforestation in Brazil, as soon as possible, with a target date of 2030
- Valuing the standing forest, with the development of a forest economy and the traditional communities linked to its use and conservation
- Expanding the monitoring system of deforestation, degradation and changes in soil cover
- Recovering 12 million hectares of native forests by 2030, as mandated by the Paris Agreement and generate jobs in this activity
- Extending low carbon farming practices in the annual Harvest Plans, reducing bureaucracy and establishing attractiveness for adherence to the system
- Developing financial compensation programs that benefit traditional communities and family farmers for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems.