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In Brazil, Climate Change Mitigation Will Help Economy

A man protests Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's with a sign that reads, "Corruption, the biggest vandalism."
A man protests Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s with a sign that reads, “Corruption, the biggest vandalism.”

The Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pledged to hit specific emissions targets to the United Nations.

Brazil is seventh on the list of the list of countries that contribute the to climate change, and they are the seventh-largest economy in the world. However, a stronger market for renewable energy will also have positive effects on Brazil’s economy, which has been struggling.

The climate plan will reduce fossil fuel emissions by 35% of 2005 levels, by 2025. That number will increase to 43% by 2030. Renewable energy will make up 45% of the total energy. This target is especially impressive, as the worldwide average is just 13% renewables.

However, there is no plan for how to implement the plan yet.

Brazil has already made a lot of progress fighting climate change, so even though there is no plan they may still succeed. Over the last decade, they’ve managed to cut back on deforestation by 75%.

In order to meet their goals, the country will need to invest in building infrastructure to generate and distribute solar and wind energy. That means jobs. Brazil is currently  in a recession and unemployment has been rising for the past eight months. 7.6% of the country was jobless in August.

The plan does have its detractors within the country’s government. President Rousseff’s approval rating is currently only 8%, and some have called for her to step down because of the economic problems and possible corruption from within the state-run oil company Petrobras. Ilmi Granoff, who works as a research fellow with the Overseas Development Institute, believes that this could give Rousseff more credibility.

Brazil already uses hydropower for two-thirds of its energy, but a severe drought has been causing blackouts this year. Wind and solar are therefore in a great position to step in as a solution.

Reporting for the International Business Times, Brianna Lee explains that alternative energy alone will not be able to fix Brazil’s economy. It will help, though. It will also help mitigate climate change.

As usual, it’s good to see economic concerns matching up with environmental ones.

Image (c) Reuters/Pilar Olivares

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