Workshop with Experts

On 19 February, in Rio de Janeiro CEBDS brought together climate change specialists, to survey, in the light of the characteristic features and needs of Brazil, tools for drawing up the societal objectives (also called must-haves) for this area – one of nine defined as priorities by the Action 2020 project. At this meeting, five top-priority themes were identified to serve as recommendations for the development of business solutions: renewable energy, cities, agriculture, forestry and funding for a low-carbon economy.

The meeting was attended by professors from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro’s COPPE– Emilio La Rovere and Suzana Kahn; and from the PUC-RJ Sérgio Besserman; the forestry expert Tasso Azevedo; the chief director of the Sustainable Amazon Foundation, Virgílio Viana; and the head of the Terrestrial System of the National Space Research Institute (INPE), José Marengo.

The meeting produced recommendations that will be included in the text containing the Action 2020 Brazilian must-haves for climate change, to be debated with affiliated companies. These must-haves include increasing the efficiency of the transmission and use of energy in industry, transport and construction; support for the development of studies and initiatives that minimize the impact of climate change in the cities in which the companies do business and in their operations; encouraging the use of agricultural good practices capable of increasing the carbon stock and reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and the production of inventories of the deforestation footprint of products and services.

“The first step in drawing up the Brazilian must-haves will involve listening to science and ascertaining which business solutions can be incorporated to make it possible to achieve the global must-have”, explains Marina Grossi, President of CEBDS. The globally agreed Climate Change must-have is to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The active role that the business sector must play in changing the global picture in the medium and long term, in terms of climate change, was demonstrated and re-emphasized by specialists. Within the project, however, the main difference is listening to and understanding the concerns of society and thereby coming up with (measurable, scalable and replicable) business solutions that move in the direction of the desired goal. According to Emílio La Rovere, “the Action 2020 project constitutes a series of actions that chart a path up to 2050, by which time the aim is stall the rise in global temperature at 2ºC. With this project, the private sector joins forces with the general public. Many goals will be able to be conflated with those of the National Climate Change Plan, but in direct dialogue with business.”

Crucial for the success of the project, the design and tracking of metrics have generated much debate among participants. For Suzana Kahn, without accurate monitoring, there is no way of knowing whether, by 2020, companies are committed to meeting the goals. The link between the Action 2020 goals and national plans regarding climate change has also been stressed by Tasso Azevedo. “2020 will draw up business goals that should be included in National Climate Change Plan 3, but from the point of view of business”, Tasso says, stressing the importance of the most significant business and global accords in the COPs. “If the COP accord in Lima this year (in December 2014, in Peru) results in terrestrial limits of 2ºC above pre-industrial levels, it would be excellent if we could leverage the goals of businesses”, he says.


Ação 2020 and Public Policy

One important characteristic of Ação 2020, as understood by specialists, is the political will that the project will involve, reinforcing the need for public-private partnerships. “Businesses ‘buying into’ the ideas of Ação 2020 will have huge transformative power. First because we are talking about heavyweight companies and, second, because the whole process has huge potential for innovation, apart from sending an important signal to government”, notes Virgílio Viana. For Sérgio Besserman, without public policy, the private sector will not be so committed, nor can it be. “It is no longer effective for companies to act only to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The key word is ‘adapt’. But neither can this alone guarantee a reduction in emissions; public policy is also a key driving force for imposing these goals”.