Robbie Andrew

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Attribution of CO2 emissions from Brazilian deforestation to consumers between 1990 and 2010


Abstract

Efforts to reduce deforestation to mitigate climate change and to conserve biodiversity are taking place on a global scale. While many studies have estimated the emissions occurring from deforestation, few studies have quantified the domestic and international drivers sustaining deforestation rates. In this study we establish the link between Brazilian deforestation and production of cattle and soybeans, and allocate emissions between 1990 and 2010 along the global supply chain to the countries that consume products dependent on Brazilian deforestation. We find that 30% of the carbon emissions associated with deforestation were exported from Brazil in the last decade, of which 29% were due to soybean production and 71% cattle ranching. The share exported is growing, with industrialized nations and emerging markets (especially Russia and China) greatly increasing imports. We find a correlation between exports (and hence global consumption) of Brazilian cattle and soybeans and emissions from deforestation. We conclude that trade is emerging as a key driver of deforestation in Brazil, and this may indirectly contribute to loss of the forests that industrialized countries are seeking to protect through international agreements.
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