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Brazil’s Federal Government Continues Climate Litigation_ Suing Private Farmer for Past Deforestation.pdf (70.59 kB)

Brazil’s Federal Government Continues Climate Litigation: Suing Private Farmer for Past Deforestation

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posted on 2023-11-20, 20:07 authored by Gabby Ramasci

Brazil has been taking major steps towards tackling climate change in the 21st century. In 2015, the US Brazil Climate Change Working Group was established in a cooperative defense against deforestation and carbon emissions, with Brazil “aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and eliminate illegal deforestation by 2028.”[1] Natural disasters have plagued Brazil for decades, but this past decade has seen some of the most substantial impacts with back to back droughts in 2012 and 2014 affecting four million and 27 million individuals respectively, and a wildfire in 2019 affecting over 10 million individuals, with climate change being recognized as having “a significant impact on disaster management efforts.”[2] As more and more people are harmed by climate change, Brazil continues to strike down those promoting practices harming the environment.

The next strategy Brazil has utilized is litigation against private entities. On September 12, 2023, Brazil’s Attorney General Office filed a lawsuit against a private livestock farmer for deforestation of the Amazon Forest. The deforestation is set between the years 2003 and 2016. The Attorney General Office is representing the Brazilian Federal Environmental Agency. In this case, it is alleged that there is “a direct cause and effect relationship between the emission of greenhouse gasses caused by the defendant and its contributions to the global climate emergency.” [3]

This is not the first case regarding climate change that the Brazilian Federal Government has brought to court. In 2021, a similar case was filed by the Brazilian Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding a cattle farmer’s deforestation activities. In both cases, the plaintiffs are seeking compensation. There is a carbon calculator software created by the Amazonian Research Institute that is used to calculate the amount of carbon released with deforestation. [4] The 2023 lawsuit has determined that one ton of carbon dioxide realized is equal to about $63.55, and a total damage of 292 million is what is currently on the table for proper compensation from the defendant.

The presence of these lawsuits shows how dedicated Brazil is to their climate regulations. While many countries have some form of climate regulations, seeing how many actually adhere to them is what really matters. Brazil has made many efforts towards conserving its biodiversity but is still the largest greenhouse gas emitter of Latin America and the Caribbean.[5] It is through lawsuits like this one that Brazil is able to uphold the promises it has made to its nation and the world that greenhouse gas emissions will drop, and they will align with their net zero emissions goal by 2050. While there is much left to do to limit carbon emissions, it is intended that the compensation from cases such as this one can help the country advance their efforts against climate change.

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The Juris Mentem Law Review

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