“It is necessary to adopt sustainable practices, such as conservation agriculture, which minimizes soil disturbance…”
Carlos Alberto Tavares Ferreira is the founder and CEO of Carbon Zero, a consultancy specializing in energy and carbon emissions.
Ferreira is the founder and CEO of Fundação Tavares Ferreira, administrative director of the Support and Research Center – Capes, and graduated in economics and accounting from Universidade Paranaense – Unipar.
AgriBrasilis – What is carbon sequestration and what is its relationship with agriculture?
Carlos Ferreira – Carbon sequestration refers to the capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, reducing its concentration to mitigate climate change.
In the context of agribusiness, sustainable practices, such as planting trees, soil management techniques, and crop rotation, can contribute to carbon sequestration. This is crucial as it helps offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with agriculture.
AgriBrasilis – Why is agriculture considered the villain of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?
Carlos Ferreira – Agriculture is considered one of the main sources of GHG emissions due to several factors. The livestock farming process, for example, contributes significantly to methane emissions, a gas with a very high global warming potential. Furthermore, deforestation to expand agricultural areas releases large amounts of carbon dioxide. Inadequate management of agricultural soils can also result in the release of nitrous oxide, for example.
We know the importance of agriculture for society, but it is crucial to adopt sustainable practices to mitigate these emissions and promote low-carbon agriculture.
It is necessary to adopt sustainable practices, such as conservation agriculture, which minimizes soil disturbance, promoting carbon capture. The efficient use of fertilizers, crop diversification and integrated pest management are also fundamental. Furthermore, investing in low-carbon technologies and agroforestry systems can significantly contribute to a more sustainable agricultural sector.
“Civil society plays a crucial role in reducing GHG emissions…”
AgriBrasilis – Have the protocols signed to reduce climate change, such as the Kyoto or Paris Protocol, had any effect?
Carlos Ferreira – The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997, and the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, are significant international efforts to combat climate change. Both aim to reduce GHG emissions to limit global warming.
The Kyoto Protocol has had limited impact due to the lack of binding commitments for some of the largest emitters, such as the US, which have not ratified the agreement, and the absence of mandatory goals for developing countries.
The Paris Agreement is more comprehensive and includes participation from a wider range of countries. Signatories commit to limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, pursuing efforts to limit the increase to just 1.5°C. However, the effective implementation and achievement of these goals depend on national action and the political will of the countries.
I could emphasize the urgency of more robust and rapid action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Projections indicate that, without significant measures, the consequences of climate change could be increasingly severe. It is crucial that countries implement ambitious emissions reduction policies, promote clean technologies, and adopt sustainable practices to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, continued international collaboration is essential to address this global challenge.
AgriBrasilis – Has Brazil implemented consistent public policies to face and mitigate climate change?
Carlos Ferreira – Brazil has implemented some public policies to face and mitigate climate change, but there are significant challenges. The country joined the Paris Agreement, committing to reducing GHG emissions, mainly by reducing deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes. However, the increase in deforestation in recent years has been a cause for concern, which makes it necessary to reinforce environmental protection measures. Furthermore, there are persistent problems related to the sustainable management of natural resources, land use, and the continued dependence on non-renewable energy sources.
Effective implementation of mitigation policies will require coordinated efforts in several areas, including strengthening environmental governance, encouraging sustainable agricultural practices, and promoting renewable energy. Brazil must intensify its efforts to meet climate goals and contribute significantly to the global reduction of GHG emissions.
AgriBrasilis – Does civil society have any decision-making power in this regard? What can “ordinary citizens” do to reduce emissions?
Carlos Ferreira – Civil society plays a crucial role in reducing GHG emissions. The “ordinary citizen” has the power to influence change through their daily choices and by pushing for more sustainable policies. Citizens can contribute through:
- Awareness and Education: understand the causes and impacts of climate change, and share knowledge to raise awareness;
- Energy Efficiency: reduce energy consumption at home, opting for renewable energy sources when possible;
- Sustainable Mobility: use public transport, electric cars, or bicycles, reduce air travel whenever it is possible;
- Conscious Consumption: choose products with a lower carbon footprint, reduce waste and recycle;
- Political Advocacy: support and press for effective climate policies, participate in environmental movements and organizations.
Individual actions, when multiplied on a global scale, have significant impacts. Civil society collaboration and engagement are essential to address the challenges of climate change. Each person plays a vital role in building a sustainable future.