Brazil has made its first major step towards combating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by launching a programme under which several major companies will report and manage their emissions.

The founding members of the Brazil Greenhouse Gas Protocol Programme include electricity company Copel, oil firm Petrobras, and several major industrial groups such as Alcoa, Votorantim, Ford and Anglo American. They will voluntarily log their annual inventories of emissions and receive training on international best practices in GHG accounting and training.

Brazil’s GHG emissions are the fifth highest in the world and the carbon intensity of its economy grew by 17 per cent from 1990 to 2002. As a developing country, it has no obligations to reduce emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

The programme will use the GHG Protocol, which was created by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), as the basis for inventory and accounting. The emission information will be available to the public online.

“With this new program, Brazil’s government and business community are building the foundation for GHG management. You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” said Manish Bapna, executive vice president of WRI.

Björn Stigson, president of the WBCSD, added, “Providing business with internationally recognized tools to enable the effective management of their greenhouse gas emissions is a necessary step towards managing and reducing global emissions.”

Other founding members of the scheme include Arcelor Mittal, Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, CNEC, Grupo Abril, Natura, Nova Petroquimica, O Boticario, Wal-Mart Brasil and Sadia.

In a report released in April, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that, “by mid-century, increases in temperature and associated decreases in soil water are projected to lead to gradual replacement of tropical forest by savanna in eastern Amazonia”.

In Brazil, crop productivity is also forecast to fall with increases in temperature.

Sian Crampsie

May 14, 2008