The regional scenarios document the possible impacts on emissions and air quality initiated by potential changes to policies on transportation, technology, fuel, and mobility systems during the upcoming decades. The intention of these scenarios is to show stakeholders that the implementation of sustainable policies plays a critical role in ensuring projected emissions do not become a reality (WEC, 2011).

The objective of this activity is to provide a source of information on current emissions projections and present scenarios for sustainable urban transport and climate change in Latin America and their potential impacts. These initially focus on Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.

1. Brazil Overview

According to the 2010 census Brazil is estimated to have a population of 191 million and is ranked as the 5th most populated country worldwide (CIA, 2012) after China, India, the United State and Indonesia.  Its estimated population growth rate is 1.102% for 2012 (CIA, 2012) with over 87% living in urban areas and a continuing shift to urbanization (World Bank, 2010). Brazil’s GDP in 2010 was 2,222 trillion current USD and its GDP per capita was 11,300 USD.

Total fossil-fuel CO2 emissions from Brazil have grown rapidly and totaled 393 million metric tons of CO2 in 2008. Liquid-fuel use accounts for 65.8% of the 2008 emission total and 14.2% comes from coal burning.  Natural gas consumption has increased ten-fold over the past two decades and accounts for approximately 12% of Brazil's fossil-fuel CO2 emissions.  Brazil has the world's fifth largest population exceeding 190 million people in 2008, but Brazil's 2008 per capita emission rate of 0.56 metric tons of carbon is well below the global average per capita rate of 1.30 metric tons of carbon (Boden et al). However, the country was the seventeenth largest emitter of CO2 emissions in 2008.

Brazilian CO2 emissions


Source: Boden et al. 2001.


Total regional transport-related CO2 emissions (millions of tons/year)



Brazil recognizes that it is part of the global solution to the problem of climate change and in the country’s National Climate Change Policy (PNMC), signed in 2008, has voluntarily committed to reduce emissions by 36.1% to 38.9% in relation to the emissions estimated for 2020, in response to its role and responsibilities as established in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

As the world‘s largest tropical country, Brazil is unique in its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions profile. In prior decades, the availability of large volumes of land suitable for crop cultivation and pasture helped to transform agriculture and livestock into key sectors for sustaining the country’s economic growth. In the past decade alone, these two sectors accounted for an average of 25 percent of national GDP (Brazil Low Carbon Study, 2010). The steady expansion of crop land and pasture has also required the conversion of more native land, making land-use change the country’s main source of GHG emissions today. At the same time, Brazil has used the abundant natural resources of its vast territory to explore and develop low-carbon renewable energy.

The National Climate Change Policy document provides an explanation of thirty-two emissions reducing activities currently being implemented in Brazil – such as the expansion of its hydroelectric power-generation capacity and the continuation of the National Ethanol Program – and also lists additional activities which, in 2008, were in the conception phase.  In the transport sector actions recommended in the document include an increase in the modal share of rail and waterway freight; adopting actions to improve public transport in cities; and reducing the need for motorized trips by urban decentralization, the prioritization of public transport and recognition of the importance of non-motorized transport.

This section presents some current statistics regarding emissions and energy use in Brazil, particularly related to transport, and presents some emission reduction scenarios in order to show where Government efforts should be focused to address the trend of increasing emission.