Brazil is the first developing country to provide an absolute emissions cut as its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), seeking to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 37% below 2005 levels by 2025 and 43% by 2030. The NDC is also noteworthy in focussing on emissions from deforestation control and land use change. Agricultural intensification is a key component of the offer, potentially allowing the country to make credible mitigation commitments that are aligned with a national development strategy of halting deforestation in the Amazon, and increasing livestock production. This apparent contradiction is potentially resolved by understanding the technical, economic and policy feasibility of intensification by pasture restoration. We use bio-economic modelling to demonstrate the extent of cost-effective mitigation that could be delivered by this measure, and to show a result that underpins the target of zero deforestation in Brazil. The analysis was requested by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture prior to the NDC announcement at COP21 by the Government of Brazil. The study provided the basis of the livestock sector contribution to the NDC and highlights the on-going role of effective deforestation control policies. It also contributes to the global debate on land sparing by sustainable agricultural intensification.
- Sustainable intensification