In April 2014, a C-AGG delegation embarked on its first trip to Brazil to explore collaborative opportunities in support of incentivizing agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation activities. Beginning with voluntary commitments made by the Brazilian government at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Copenhagen in 2009, and with the subsequent passage of legislation mandating emissions reductions within a range of voluntary targets, Brazil has embarked on ambitious sectoral emissions reduction plans. Of particular interest to C-AGG is engagement and collaboration with Brazilian colleagues engaged in the Low Carbon Agriculture Plan (aka ABC Plan).

Through direct engagement with members of the agricultural sector, NGOs, government agencies, financial institutions and the private sector in multiple trips to Brazil, C-AGG’s Brazil delegation has established collaborative relations and opportunities to share collective knowledge and experience in agricultural GHG mitigation opportunities. Particular areas of collaboration have been established to develop the following:

  • tools and techniques to measure, monitor and verify agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions and sequestration;
  • decision support systems that will enable the agricultural sector to understand potential changes in management practices to reduce GHG emissions and/or increase sequestration, and operational and business impacts of these
  • changes in management systems;
  • financial mechanisms to support agricultural GHG mitigation activities;
  • the development of necessary tools and policies to enable the agricultural sector to cost-effectively reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration, including market-based mechanisms such as carbon or ecosystem services markets and agricultural offset protocols or methodologies; and
  • programmatic approaches and tools (such as regional approaches) that can help to engage the agricultural sector and increase participation at a scale that matters, in a meaningful timeframe.

C-AGG’s Brazil Delegation members:

  • Debbie Reed, C-AGG (USA)
  • Monica McBride, C-AGG (USA)
  • John Kadyszewski, Winrock International (USA)
  • Bill Salas, Applied GeoSolutions (USA)

Sustainable Agriculture in Brazil

During the 2009 UNFCCC COP 15 meetings in Copenhagen, the Brazilian government adopted GHG mitigation pledges for 4 sectors of their economy including agricultural, land use, energy, and industrial processes. Combined these pledges are expected to reduce emissions by 38.9% by 2020 compared to business as usual for the country.

To help implement the pledge for the agriculture sector, the Brazilian government launched the Low Carbon Agriculture Program (ABC) in 2010 with the goal of providing farmers with low-interest loans to implement a prescribed list of practices known to reduce GHG emissions. The qualified ABC activities include:

  • Recovery of degraded pastureland;
  • Integration of agriculture, livestock and forestry;
  • No-till farming;
  • Biological N fixation;
  • Forest planting; and
  • Animal waste treatment.

For more details on the ABC plan and the different organizations involved, please refer to C-AGG’s April trip summary.

United States and Brazil Joint Initiative on Climate Change

In June 2015, the United States (U.S.) and Brazil launched a Joint Initiative on Climate Change as an outcome of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff’s visit to the US. The initiative will be implemented by a United States-Brazil Climate Change Working Group (CCWG). The CCWG will kick-off its work by October 15th, 2015 which will be focused on three major pillars:

  • Cooperation on Sustainable Land Use
  • Cooperation on Clean Energy
  • Cooperation on Adaptation to Climate Change

Under the Cooperation on Sustainable Land Use pillar, the CCWG’s focus on agriculture will entail continued identification and establishment of low-carbon agricultural practices for promotion within the sector in addition to reinvigorating the work of the Global Research Alliance (GRA) for Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. For more information on the CCWG’s initiatives, please refer to the U.S.-Brazil Joint Statement on Climate Change.

C-AGG and ICNA Collaboration

In October 2014, C-AGG signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the “Instituto CNA – Social and Agribusiness Studies and Research Institute (ICNA)” part of the system led by the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA). This partnership aims to jointly and collaboratively work to implement projects and activities to meet the goals of Brazil’s ABC program. In the near-term C-AGG and ICNA have agreed to work on the following projects:

  • Adding measuring and monitoring capabilities to ICNA’s Agrosustenta – ICNA’s Portal of Sustainability. This web-based portal created by the Instituto CNA allows Brazilian agricultural producers the opportunity to enhance the sustainability of their operations through a decision support system that weighs economic benefits, land valuation, technical and managerial capacity, and risk. The system enables producers to select to undertake specific sustainability management practices that achieve the goals of Brazil’s ABC Plan, and the output of the portal is a report that qualifies the producer for loans from ABC credit lines.
  • Development and implementation of ABC Plan demonstration projects. The initial pilot projects will be designed to demonstrate the benefit of changes in management practices to support the recovery of degraded pastureland, with a goal of scaling up producer engagement in pastureland restoration across different biomes and regions of Brazil. C-AGG and ICNA are jointly developing a feasibility assessment for these projects.

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