Friday, 26 September 2014 10:50 Last modified on Friday, 26 September 2014 13:39|

Statement by the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, at the Climate Summit

September 23, 2014


"Mr. President,

I congratulate the Secretary-General of the United Nations for convening the Climate Summit.

Last Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to demand concrete progress in the ongoing negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Brazil fully shares in this aspiration. We have actively participated in these negotiations. We support the collective adoption of fair, ambitious, balanced and effective measures to face this challenge.

I reaffirm that the new climate agreement must be universal, ambitious and legally binding, while respecting the principles and provisions of the Framework Convention, in particular the principles of equity and of common but differentiated responsibilities.

This agreement must be robust with respect to mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation. The global climate agreement we seek is one that promotes sustainable development. The growth of our economies is compatible with reductions in emissions.

In Brazil, we are already doing this. At the same time that we reduce poverty and bring down social inequality, we protect the environment. In the past 12 years, extraordinary results have been achieved.

At the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, in 2009, we announced a voluntary commitment to reduce between 36 to 39% our projected emissions up until 2020.

Since then, we have put in place decisive actions with great results. In the last 10 years, deforestation in Brazil has decreased by 79%.

Between 2010 and 2013, we have avoided releasing into the atmosphere, each year, on average, 650 million tons of carbon dioxide. In that same period we achieved the four lowest levels of deforestation in our modern history.

Brazilian voluntary reductions have significantly contributed to the decrease in global emission by 2020.

Mr. President, fellow Heads of State and Heads of Government,

Brazil, as a matter of fact, delivers on its promises.

And our resolve in tackling climate change is not limited to the Brazilian Amazon.

We cooperate with countries from the Amazon Basin in activities related to monitoring and combating deforestation. We will also lend our support to countries from the Congo Basin in their efforts to do the same.

Domestically, we have adopted sectoral plans for reducing deforestation in the Brazilian cerrado region; scaling up use of renewable energies; and promoting Low-Carbon Agriculture.

Brazil is a major food producer. We are aware that low-carbon farming practices both reduce emissions and increase productivity in the agricultural sector.

Similarly, agroecological practices in smallholder farming help reduce rural poverty in the countryside. Both programs are critical for the food and nutrition security of millions of Brazilians.

Agricultural crop production are happening through increase of productivity in a smaller expansion of the planted area. Such a leap in productivity could only be possible with much research and innovation, abundant investment and intensive support from the Brazilian Federal Government.

All of this refutes the supposed contradiction between agricultural production and environmental protection. It serves as evidence that it is possible to grow, to include, to preserve and to protect the environment.

Mr. President,

Climate change associated natural disasters have claimed lives and affected economic activities throughout the world. In a context of environmental injustice, the poor are the most vulnerable, especially in our cities.

In Brazil, we have implemented the National Policy for the Prevention and the Monitoring of Natural Disasters, with the objective of keeping these disasters from hurting people, property and the environment.

By the end of this year, we will submit to the Brazilian people yet another important chapter of this policy, the National Adaptation Plan.

The costs of tackling climate change are high, but the benefits outweigh them.

We must overcome the logic that preventing climate change negatively impacts the economy. Actions to reduce emissions and to foster adaptation must be considered a source of wealth, as they attract investment and warrant new initiatives of sustainable development.

Historically, developed countries ensured the welfare of their societies through a development model based on high rates of harmful gas emissions from a climate change point of view, felling forests and using practices harmful to the environment.

We do not want to emulate this model.

But we will not relinquish the need to reduce inequalities and raise the living standards of our people.

We, developing countries, have the same right to welfare. And we are proving that a model based on social justice and environmental sustainability can be achieved. Brazil is an example of just that.

Thank you very much"