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    A Business-NGO Pact to Seek a New Brazilian Climate Change Policy

    By Keith R | April 26, 2007

    Topics: Climate Change, Environmental Protection, Sustainable Forest Use | 3 Comments »

          
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    On Tuesday the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (Conselho Empresarial Brasileiro para o Desenvolvimento SustentávelCEBDS), the state-owned energy giant Petrobras, the energy-cement-chemicals-cellulose conglomerate Votorantim, Greenpeace Brasil and WWF-Brasil signed a “Climate Defense Pact.” CEBDS is the Brazilian chapter of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

    The centerpiece of the Pact is that all signatories agree to work toward a National Climate Change Policy based on ten items:

    1. o fim do desmatamento, garantindo maior governança nas florestas, por meio de políticas de combate ao desmatamento na Amazônia, na Mata Atlântica e em outras regiões florestais brasileiras e o fortalecimento das instituições responsáveis pela implementação e fiscalização;
    2. fomento a iniciativas que visam a incorporar à matriz energética brasileira, de forma sustentável, energia proveniente de fontes renováveis, aproveitando as imensas potencialidades do País nessa área;
    3. conscientização da sociedade quanto aos efeitos adversos da mudança do clima, bem como quanto às medidas que estão sendo tomadas para reduzir nossas emissões;
    4. identificação das vulnerabilidades do País à mudança climática, inclusive no que diz respeito à biodiversidade, e definição das medidas de adaptação necessárias;
    5. o estabelecimento de metas de redução de emissões, que as empresas e o País podem adotar e a formalização de uma posição internacional mais ativa e comprometida com a redução da emissão de gases de efeito estufa, envolvendo instituições públicas, privadas e da sociedade civil;
    6. ampliação da Comissão Interministerial de Mudanças do Clima, assegurando a participação ativa de outros setores da sociedade, como empresas e organizações da sociedade civil, inclusive na definição da posição brasileira em fóruns internacionais relacionados ao tema;
    7. pesquisas que promovam o valor econômico de nossa biodiversidade;
    8. consideração e priorização das questões sócio-ambientais, inclusive a mudança climática, nos programas e ações dos Planos Plurianuais;
    9. estimular a disseminação de exemplos positivos, tais como programas de eficiência energética e a ampliação do uso sustentável de combustíveis provenientes de fontes renováveis;
    10. fomentar o desenvolvimento de um mercado nacional para energias limpas como solar, eólica, pequenas centrais hidroelétricas e outras.

    Roughly translated, these are:

    1. the end of deforestation, guaranteeing better governance of forests, via policies to combat deforestation in the Amazon, in the Atlantic Forest and other forested regions of Brazil and the strengthening of the institutions responsible for their implementation and enforcement;
    2. promotion of initiatives that look to incorporating in the Brazilian energy matrix, in a sustainable fashion, energy from renewable sources, taking advantage of the immense potentialities of the country in this area;
    3. societal awareness regarding the adverse effects of climate change, as well as the measures that will be taken to reduce our emissions;
    4. identification of the country’s vulnerabilities to climate change, including those with respect to biodiversity, and definition of the necessary adaptation measures;
    5. the establishment of emission reduction goals, that companies and the country can adopt and the formalization of a more active and binding international position regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, involving public, private and civil society institutions;
    6. expansion of the Inter-ministerial Commission on Climate Change, ensuring the active participation of other sectors of society, such as companies and civil society organizations, including in defining the Brazilian position in international forums related to the topic;
    7. research that promotes the economic value of our biodiversity;
    8. consideration and prioritization of socio-environmental questions, including climate change, in the programs and actions of the Mutli-year Plans;
    9. stimulation of the dissemination of positive examples, such as the energy efficiency programs and the expansion of the sustainable use of fuels from renewable sources;
    10. fomenting the development of the national market for clean energies such as solar, wind, small hydroelectric plants and others.

    It’s nice to see Greenpeace open to partnering with WWF, the Council and the conglomerates for the greater good. It will be interesting to see how the partnership works in lobbying the National Congress, and if they can get other key organizations to sign on as well, such as the Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA), the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) and the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo – FIESP).

    — Keith R

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    3 Responses to “A Business-NGO Pact to Seek a New Brazilian Climate Change Policy”

    1. Michael Wagner Says:

      Yes, that’s all very nice except for one thing – man made global warming is a scam! The earth gets warmer and cooler periodically, mostly due to changes in solar output. Man has nothing to do with it.
      But what about CO2, you say? What about it? The IPCC report LIED about the amount of CO2 in the air for the last 180 years. Current CO2 is about 379 ppm, but in 1940 it was 420 ppm and in the 1820’s it was 470 ppm. Where were the disastrous runaway greenhouse events from those big spikes in CO2? They didn’t happen. In fact, for several decades after the 1940 peak, the earth got cooler.
      CO2 is simply NOT a driver of climate. The ice core records clearly show that CO2 is a climate FOLLOWER. As the earth warms (from the activity of the sun) the oceans release more CO2. As the earth cools, the oceans absorb CO2.
      See my website for more links to the real data on “global warming.”

    2. Reasic Says:

      Michael,

      First of all, could you provide some sources for your “facts”? I looked around on your website and I didn’t see anything to back it up. Please be sure you use peer-reviewed scientific literature.

      The reason I ask for sources is many of your assertions look to be extremely inaccurate. I’ll try to address some of them here. If you have any concerns feel free to bring them up, and I’d be glad to have a discussion with you.

      The earth gets warmer and cooler periodically, mostly due to changes in solar output.

      I have never seen any research that pointed at solar output as the sole reason for past climate changes. I can understand how this can be confusing because the Sun is indeed our source of heat. However, the Sun’s total output (called solar irradiance) remains relatively constant (at about 1366 W/m^2). The only fluctuations that we see in our lifetimes are through solar cycles every 11 years or so, during which the solar output fluctuates by about 1 W/m^2.

      So, if the Earth is going to heat up, it would have to be in a secondary way that would increase the effect of the Sun’s energy. This can happen two ways: Milankovitch Cycles or changes in the greenhouse effect. Milankovitch Cycles are changes in the Earth’s rotational axis, orbit, etc., which are the primary catalyst for bringing our planet into and out of ice ages. The greenhouse effect is also relatively constant, keeping our planet about 33 deg. C warmer than it would otherwise be. However, recent changes in some greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are widely considered to be responsible for our current warming trend.

      This brings me to your CO2 concentration numbers:

      The IPCC report LIED about the amount of CO2 in the air for the last 180 years. Current CO2 is about 379 ppm, but in 1940 it was 420 ppm and in the 1820’s it was 470 ppm. Where were the disastrous runaway greenhouse events from those big spikes in CO2? They didn’t happen.

      This is where I need some source information from you, because I think you’ll be hard pressed to find even a skeptical climate scientist who would endorse these numbers. Recent CO2 concentrations observed at Mauna Loa have shown that CO2 has steadily increased to 380 from lower levels, while ice core records show that CO2 concentrations have never been over 280 ppm. When the two are put together, one can see a steady fluctuation throughout the past 650,000 years between 180 ppm and 280 ppm, with a sudden spike to 380 ppm in recent years. Those are not numbers that have originated from the IPCC, so the IPCC could not have “lied” about them. They are taken from actual field measurements and proxies (ice cores). If you disagree with these numbers, your beef is with the scientists who did the research at Mauna Loa and the Vostok station, not the IPCC.

      In fact, for several decades after the 1940 peak, the earth got cooler.

      As I’ve already shown, there was no peak in CO2 concentrations in 1940. As for the cooling period in the middle of the last century, that is currently believed to have been due to an increase in aerosol emissions as a result of the industrial boom in the 40’s and ever since. These aerosols were soon found to be causing acid rain, and to be primarily responsible for depletion of ozone. Therefore, these substances were strictly regulated, resulting in decreased emissions and subsequent warming.

      The ice core records clearly show that CO2 is a climate FOLLOWER. As the earth warms (from the activity of the sun) the oceans release more CO2. As the earth cools, the oceans absorb CO2.

      This is correct, except for one thing you’ve left out, which is CO2’s role as a positive forcing with a long residence time (over 100 years). The ability of CO2 to absorb the long wave infrared radiation that is emitted by the Earth is well-documented. Therefore, when CO2 concentrations increase, warming increases. So CO2 contributes to the warming once it’s in the atmosphere, regardless of how it got there. At the end of ice ages, CO2 is released from the ocean around Antarctica, which warms first. Then, CO2 spreads out evenly throughout the atmosphere, causing GLOBAL warming, which speeds up the process. This is known as a positive feedback.

      However, we are not currently in an ice age. We are in an interglacial period, so this process I just described is inapplicable for our current situation. Plus, due to measurements of the different isotopes of carbon atoms in the atmosphere, scientists have been able to determine that human activity is responsible for nearly all of the recent CO2 increase.

      So if we know that CO2 causes warming and the human activity is responsible for recent increases in CO2 concentrations, it can’t be too much of a stretch to find that human activity causes warming, right? Then, the only question that remains is how much warming are we responsible for? Well, I know you don’t trust the IPCC very much, but if you look at SPM1 from their latest report, AR4, on page 4, you’ll find a chart titled “Radiative Forcing Components”. In this chart, you can see the radiative forcing values that have been assigned to each known component of climate change. CO2 is at 1.66 W/m^2, making it the dominant radiative forcing. If you doubt these numbers, I could provide you some citations for research that has gone into assigning these values. I won’t here because I’ve already gone too long.

      Thank you for your time and I hope this has been helpful.

    3. A CO2 Roller Coaster Ride « Reasic Says:

      […] May 2nd, 2007 I was recently faced with a skeptical argument that I had never heard before. In a comment on The Temas Blog, a skeptic named Michael Wagner claimed that CO2 levels were actually higher in the 40’s and in the 1820’s: But what about CO2, you say? What about it? The IPCC report LIED about the amount of CO2 in the air for the last 180 years. Current CO2 is about 379 ppm, but in 1940 it was 420 ppm and in the 1820’s it was 470 ppm. Where were the disastrous runaway greenhouse events from those big spikes in CO2? They didn’t happen. In fact, for several decades after the 1940 peak, the earth got cooler. […]

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