Brazil is a Leader in Reducing Global Warming Emissions

Posted Jul. 4th, 2014 by Melynda Harrison

Brazil's jaguar is just one  species that benefits from the country's 'greening" efforts.

Brazil’s jaguar is just one species that benefits from the country’s ‘greening” efforts.

Brazil is a leader in reducing global warming emissions and has made some very “green” choices in putting on the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. In fact, this World Cup is the first FIFA World Cup to have a comprehensive sustainability strategy.

Does that surprise you? It surprised me.

When I was in high school in the late 80s and early 90s, I had a “Save the Rainforest” t-shirt I wore all the time. Back then, the Amazon was mostly known as a place where trees were being cut down and an unprecedented rate. Photographs on the news showed vast swaths of dirt and leafless trees going up in big plumes of grey smoke.

Until recently, my image of Brazil, and its section of rainforest stayed the same. Then I heard an interview with Dan Nepstad, the Executive Director and Founder of Earth Innovation Institute.

Nepstad said, “Brazil used to clear nearly 8,000 square miles of rainforest every year, an area the size of Massachusetts. But since 2005, the rate of deforestation has dropped 70 percent, now it’s about 2,000 square miles, the size of Delaware.”

Seventy percent less deforestation. That’s a big improvement. (To find out how Brazil did it, and the challenges they face, see the whole story here.)

Nepstad continued, “Keeping that forest standing prevents 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere—about two years worth of emissions from all cars and light trucks in the U.S.”

Brazil really is a leader in tackling global warming emissions.

While neither Brazil nor the World Cup has gone totally eco-groovy, Brazil has implemented some programs that are minimizing carbon emissions. Green stadiums, waste management, community support, reducing and offsetting carbon emissions, renewable energy, climate change and capacity development are just some of their initiatives.

The hyacinth macaw doesn't care about soccer, but solar energy and LEED certification make its life better.

The hyacinth macaw doesn’t care about soccer, but solar energy and LEED certification make its life better.

Here are some of the specifics.

  • The World Cup arena is running on solar energy. 1,500 solar panels on the roof generate 2.5 MW. Others stadiums around the country have a total of 5.4 MW of solar capacity. And FIFA and the FIFA World Cup Sponsor Yingli Energy will install solar energy systems that will provide Brazilian communities with renewable energy long after the tournament has ended.
  • All 12 World Cup hosting stadiums are LEED certified—a first in World Cup history (FIFA World Cup games started in 1930).
  • Waste management in stadiums and other venues are being dealt with according to a new waste law. Recycling is promoted in collaboration with local cooperatives.
  • FIFA is encouraging environmentally-friendly travel between stadiums and sustainable tourism. There’s even an app for that.
  • The Brazilian government offset 115,000 tons of carbon through “donations” of offsets from companies that then get to sport a special World Cup “green seal.”

During a recent move, my mom found my “Save the Rainforests” t-shirt and sent it to me. I still wear it around now and then, but it’s nice knowing that the rainforest have been saved, for now.


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