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Brazilian Cities Aligning Growth with Sustainable Urban Development

New report highlights how increased climate action will impact economic development and social conditions in Brazilian cities

A new research report, “The Contribution of Low-carbon Cities to Brazil’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Goals” released today explores the significant opportunities for urban GHG emissions reductions in Brazilian cities, and highlights how these efforts can support broader national development goals as the urban population continues to grow. The report outlines specific opportunities for further action, including increasing mitigation ambition in the buildings, transportation and waste sectors; it also notes the importance of ensuring that climate policies in Brazil support urban development efforts, which will address poverty and equity issues.

The report, written by Coppe UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Stockholm Environment Institute, found that Brazil has a rapidly growing urban population – projected to reach 90 percent by 2020 – and demonstrates that infrastructure choices made to support this urban growth could significantly affect GHG emissions.

Climate action has long been a priority for Brazil. Brazil was the first major developing country to set an emission reduction target under the Copenhagen Accord, pledging to reduce emissions by 36.1 – 38.9 percent below a business-as-usual scenario.

Although Brazil has already made strides in reducing emissions from deforestation and integrating renewables in the power supply, there is room for Brazilian cities to take action and enhance mitigation ambition, particularly in the buildings, transportation and waste sectors. The report highlights that, following the Brazilian Labelling Program guidelines, Brazilian cities could achieve energy savings of 50 percent in new buildings and 30 percent in retrofits. Infrastructure improvements to transportation and decreased reliance on personal vehicles, as outlined in Brazil’s national plan for improving urban mobility, are projected to reduce GHG emissions from road transport by 19.5 Mt CO2e by 2020. Additionally, a National Policy for Solid Waste will decrease waste generation, increase recycling and reuse, manage and dispose of solid waste properly and provide universal basic sanitation.

To complement and expedite the progress Brazil is already making, the report highlights the following opportunities for Brazilian cities to achieve low-carbon urban development:

  • Work with the national government to enhance cities’ strategies – national policy changes are necessary to further unlock cities’ GHG emissions reduction potential.
  • Align transportation policies with spatial planning to increase accessibility and connectivity while reducing emissions; explore shared mobility.
  • Expand reforestation efforts to balance emissions and reduce uncertainty about water supply.
  • Leverage political influence to raise the ambition of national mitigation commitments and push for a stronger international climate agreement.

Read the full report here.

About Coppe UFRJ
Coppe – The Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute for Graduate Studies and Research in Engineering – helped renew Brazilian universities; thereby contributing to the country’s overall development. Founded in 1963 by the engineer Alberto Luiz Coimbra, the institution made it possible to create graduate courses in Brazil. Over the course of the last four decades it has become the most important center for engineering research and education in Latin America.

About Stockholm Environment Institute
SEI is an independent international research institute engaged in environment and development issues at local, national, regional and global policy levels for more than 25 years. SEI was formally established in 1989 by the Swedish government and celebrated its 25th anniversary in October 2014. SEI’s goal is to bring about change for sustainable development by bridging science and policy by providing integrated analysis that supports decision-makers. The institute has built a reputation for rigorous and objective scientific analysis in the field of environment and development. For more information, visit:

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: public health, environment, education, government innovation and the arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $462 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

Media Contacts:
Bloomberg Philanthropies/Havas PR: Samantha Wolf,, +1 646-515-3574