Minas Gerais - Agriculture, a central issue

Territorial assessment of climate action


Association Climate Chance (Climate Chance)

Since 2015, the Climate Chance Association has been involved in the mobilization in the fight against climate change. It is the only international association that proposes to bring together on an equal footing all non-state actors recognized by the UN. In order to strengthen their action and to give credibility to the climate stabilization scenarios, the Climate Chance Association launched in 2018 a Global Observatory of Non-State Climate Action, which aims to explain the evolution of greenhouse gas emissions, by crossing national public policies, with sectoral dynamics, private actors’ strategies, local public policies and actions undertaken by local actors. In order to analyse the coherence of local public policies, Climat Chance proposes an assessment of « territorial mobilisations » through selected examples of cities and regions. Here, the Minas Gerais.

The State of Minas Gerais, Brazil’s third economic power, is often referred to as the « condensed state of Brazil » because of the very strong territorial and social disparities within its territory. In 2014, it embarked on the development of a Territorial Climate and Energy Plan (TCEP), then considered a pioneer in Brazil. This plan established that in 2014 Minas Gerais’ emissions were 124 MtCO2eq, a 24% increase compared to 2005 (99.5 MtCO2eq). They are distributed as follows: agriculture (40%), energy (37%), industrial processes (16%), waste (7%).


Minas Gerais is Brazil’s second largest state in terms of livestock (23.8 million cattle in 2015) and agricultural production (rice, sugar cane and grains), with production growing steadily at 2% per year since 2005. This growth has led to a 22% increase in emissions from the agricultural sector between 2005 (16.2 MtCO2eq) and 2014 (19.8 MtCO2eq), half of which is due to land use changes and deforestation. Minas Gerais introduced a series of laws in 2010 to drastically limit the practice of burning agricultural waste on plantations, for example. This resulted in a 75% reduction in emissions from agricultural waste between 2009 and 2015, from 0.66 to 0.16 MtCO2eq. At the same time, Minas Gerais implemented in 2016 a vast program to recover degraded pastures and limit the effects of deforestation, which is the cause of 17% of the sector’s emissions. 715 producers have been trained in techniques that allow better management of their activity, recovery of degraded areas, increased production and income for rural producers (FAEMG 2018).


In 2014, almost a third of emissions from energy combustion came from industrial production. The 3% drop in GDP in 2009 compared to 2008 will have resulted in an 8% drop in total emissions in Minas Gerais. This decrease is directly explained by the shrinkage of the metal industry, which in 2009 suffered a 39% decrease in production and an 8% decrease in CO2 emissions. However, since the economic recovery of the sector in 2011, emissions have increased by 12%. In an attempt to reduce the industry’s carbon and energy intensity, Minas Gerais has set up a financial support programme for the modernisation of industrial processes and the reduction of their energy consumption, aiming to reduce emissions by 79,537 tCO2eq by 2030 as : the use of natural gas for the operation of turbines, the renewal of freight truck fleets for larger, biofuel-powered vehicles, and the integration of variable-speed compressors into industrial fans in order to optimize their energy consumption. In 2015, the benefits of these various measures are estimated at 500 tCO2eq.


Frequently affected by extreme climatic events such as droughts and floods, Minas Gerais is the first state in Brazil to have carried out a diagnosis of vulnerability to climate change in 2010, updated in 2015. In 2015, the Minas Gerais State Development Bank (BDMG) and the Agence Française de Développement financed the creation of a Minas Gerais Vulnerability Index (IMVC) to measure the vulnerability of the state’s territories to climate change impacts, as well as a call for projects for municipalities for mitigation and adaptation projects.