Brazil reveals renewable energy goal on US visit

Emerging economy will aim for 28-33% renewable energy by 2030, President Rousseff said in joint statement with Obama

President Barack Obama gives Brazil's Dilma Rousseff a tour of the Martin Luther King memorial park, Washington (Official White House Photo/Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama gives Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff a tour of the Martin Luther King memorial park, Washington (Official White House Photo/Pete Souza)

By Megan Darby

Brazil is aiming to get 28-33% of its energy from renewable sources in 2030, not counting hydropower, president Dilma Rousseff revealed on Tuesday.

Visiting US counterpart Barack Obama in Washington, Rousseff also promised policies to eliminate illegal deforestation and restore 12 million hectares of forest by 2030.

These will form part of the country’s hotly anticipated contribution to a UN climate deal. Due by 1 October, Brazil’s climate plan will represent “its highest possible effort beyond its current actions,” according to a joint statement from the two leaders.

Brazil has slashed its greenhouse gas emissions 41% since 2005, they noted, largely as a result of measures to slow deforestation of the Amazon.

From 2005 to 2012, forests went from being the country’s main source of emissions to just 15% of the total, as energy and agriculture’s shares grew.

The emerging economy is the fourth largest emitter after China, US and the EU, with the most recent comprehensive figures pegging its share at 5.7% of the world total.

The US and Brazil affirmed their commitment to a strong global climate deal in Paris this December and announced joint programmes to develop clean energy and sustainable land use.


The United States and Brazil have made a joint announcement on climate change following a meeting between Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Barack Obama at the White House. Beyond the positive step of these two major leaders talking again, what can we make of it?

At first blush, the numbers in the joint announcement sound decent, but some key issues were missing.

There was no economy-wide target for cutting emissions, nor was a peak year named for climate pollution from fossil fuels.

On forests, the promised 12 million hectares of reforestation won’t go far against the 75 million hectares lost since 1970. And there was no date set for net zero deforestation.

Read more analysis from Timmons Roberts and Guy Edwards of Brown University here.

Read more on: Climate politics | Forests | Renewables | UN climate talks | US | |