Press Release

march, 04 - 2021

Amazon municipalities dominate carbon emissions

Seven of the ten largest emitters in the country are in the North, shows the country's first municipal mapping of greenhouse gases.

The ten municipalities that are champions of greenhouse gases (GHG) in Brazil together emit 172 million gross tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). It is more than whole countries like Peru, Belgium or the Philippines. And seven of these big emitters are in the Amazon, where deforestation is the main source of emissions. This is what the first edition of SEEG Municipalities reveals, an unprecedented initiative by the Climate Observatory.

SEEG calculated greenhouse gas emissions from all 5,570 Brazilian municipalities. The survey covers every year from 2000 to 2018 and is detailed for more than a hundred sources of emissions in the sectors of energy, transport, industry, agriculture, waste treatment and changes in land use and forests.

This is the first time that emissions have been seen at the municipal level, and the first time that such a survey has been carried out for a large country. The aim is to increase the knowledge of mayors, city councils and local society across the country about the dynamics of emissions and provide a tool for the development of municipal development policies with carbon reduction.

The municipality that most emits in Brazil is São Félix do Xingu (PA), with 29.7 million gross tons of CO2e in 2018. Of this total, changes in land use, mostly resulting from deforestation, account for 25 , 44 million tons, followed by agriculture, with 4.22 million tons of CO2e, emitted mainly by the digestion of the bovine herd. The municipality of Pará has the largest number of heads in the country.

If it were a country, São Félix do Xingu would be the 111th in the world in emissions, ahead of Uruguay, Norway, Chile, Croatia, Costa Rica and Panama, according to data from Cait, the global emissions ranking of the World Resources Institute.

Deforestation also triggers emissions per capita in Amazonian municipalities. Each resident of São Félix do Xingu, for example, emits 225 tons of CO2e per year, almost 22 times more than the average gross emissions per capita in Brazil, 12 times more than that of the United States and six times more than that of Qatar , the country with the highest emission per capita in the world. Even worse is Colniza, in northwest Mato Grosso: sixth largest emitter in the country, with 14.3 million tons of CO2e emitted in 2018, Colniza has the highest gross per capita emission in Brazil: 358 tons. It is as if each inhabitant of the municipality had more than 300 cars running 20 kilometers a day.

On the other hand, and this is good news from the survey, extensive Amazonian municipalities with many protected areas also have major removals of greenhouse gases. This reduces so-called net emissions. The removal champion is Altamira, the largest municipality in Brazil by area, which has removals of more than 22 million tons of CO2e. São Félix do Xingu has removals of 10 million tons.

Of the ten municipalities that are champions of gross emission in the country, only three are outside the Amazon: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Serra, in Espírito Santo. The energy sector, especially transportation, stands out as the main emission factor in large cities, especially capital cities. Serra, which houses a steel mill, has its emissions mainly through industrial processes.

Oil refining and processing increase these emissions in cities like Manaus and Rio de Janeiro. And fossil thermal power plants greatly increase emissions in the cities that house them. The most striking example is Capivari de Baixo, in Santa Catarina. The municipality is home to a set of coal-fired power plants, the Jorge Lacerda complex, built in the 1960s and which has three plants, with an installed capacity of 857 megawatts. Capivari de Baixo is the largest emitter in Brazil by area: it emits 85,633 tons of CO2 per km2.

Waste treatment, although accounting for only 4% of Brazil's gross emissions, is an important source of emissions for cities - especially the most populous. Rio leads this sector, with 5.6 million tons, followed by São Paulo, which, despite having twice the population, emits 5.45 million tons, due to the greater efficiency in the treatment of garbage and the capture of methane to generate energy in landfills.

"Until today, less than 5% of Brazilian municipalities had an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions. Now everyone will have the data for a 20-year series and we hope that this will serve as a stimulus to promote local development with reduced emissions and coping. climate change ", explains Tasso Azevedo, general coordinator of SEEG. "As the data is made available openly and free of charge, it also means a huge saving of public resources, which can be focused on actions to reduce emissions", he adds.

See interactive charts with SEEG Municipalities data here. The complete data will be available from Thursday on the platform Following are other highlights from SEEG Municipalities.

Agriculture Sector

  • In 2018, the sector was the largest source of GHG emissions in 65.8% of Brazilian municipalities, a total of 3,666 municipalities.
    Municipalities located in the states of Mato Grosso, Pará and Mato Grosso do Sul are among the 20 municipalities that most emitted by the agricultural sector in 2018, for having the largest cattle herds.
  • The municipalities in the South region are the ones that lead the agricultural and livestock emissions by area, due to the small territorial extension.
  • The municipalities of the Midwest region lead the emissions per inhabitant in the agricultural sector, due to the sector's appeal in the region and to be less populous.

Energy Sectors and Industrial Processes

  • São Paulo leads the energy sector, with 12.4 million tons, followed by Manaus (6.2 million tons) and Rio de Janeiro (6 million tons).
  • More populous municipalities, such as capital cities, have their main source of emissions in the Energy sector, mainly due to the consumption of fossil fuels (diesel and gasoline) in transport.
  • In industrial processes, Serra (ES) leads easily, with 10.4 million tons, followed by Vespasiano (MG), 2 million tons, and Sete Lagoas (MG), 1 million tons.
  • Excluding land use changes, the energy and industrial processes sectors are responsible for most of the emissions from 9 of the top 10 emitters.
  • Fuel refining increases emissions in municipalities such as Duque de Caxias, Paulínia and São José dos Campos, respectively the 6th, 13th and 14th largest emitters in the country when excluding land use change.
    Fossil thermoelectric plants are the main emission factors in Manaus (49%), Duque de Caxias, RJ (45%), Capivari de Baixo, SC (98%), São Gonçalo do Amarante, CE (95%), Santo Antônio dos Lopes, MA (95%), Macaé, RJ (82%) and Candiota, RS (95%).
  • The industrial process sector is marked by the scarcity of activity data that allow more accurate estimates of its associated emissions.
  • Florianópolis is the capital of the engine: 62% of the municipality's emissions come from transport. Just below the list, tied, are Brasília and Curitiba, with 59%.

Waste Sector

  • Brazilian capitals and municipalities with more than 1 million inhabitants are responsible for about 30% of all emissions in the sector.
  • Rio de Janeiro leads, with 5.6 million tons, followed by São Paulo (5.45 million tons) and Fortaleza (1.8 million tons).
    The main source of emission in the sector is the final disposal of solid waste in landfills, controlled or dumps (64% of the sector's emissions) and this is replicated in 60% of Brazilian municipalities.
  • In municipalities where the final disposal is not the main source of emissions, the emissions associated with the treatment of liquid effluents, both domestic and industrial, stand out.

Land Use Change (MUT) and Forests Sector

  • The largest national emitters (gross emissions) are in the Amazon, mainly in the State of Pará.
  • Large municipalities in area (9 of the 10 largest) in the Amazon, in Pará and Amazonas, and with a large proportion of protected areas and forest area present the largest gross removals.
  • Some of the smallest municipalities in the Amazon (<140 thousand hectares) are the largest emitters per area in this sector.
  • In the Cerrado, among the largest emitters are the municipalities in the region of agricultural expansion in Matopiba (agricultural frontier between Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia).

About the Climate Observatory: network formed in 2002, composed of 63 non-governmental organizations and social movements. It acts for the progress of dialogue, public policies and decision-making processes on climate change in the country and globally. Website:

About SEEG: The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimation System was created in 2012 to comply with a PNMC (National Policy on Climate Change) determination. The decree that regulates the PNMC established that the country should produce annual emission estimates, in order to monitor the implementation of the policy. The government, however, did not produce them. National inventories, fundamental instruments for getting to know the country's emissions profile in detail, are published only every five years.

SEEG ( was the first national initiative to produce annual estimates for the entire economy. Launched in 2012 and incorporated into the Climate Observatory the following year, it is one of the largest national databases on greenhouse gas emissions in the world, comprising Brazilian emissions from five sectors (Agriculture, Energy, Industrial Processes, Waste and Change in Use of Earth).

The estimates are generated according to the guidelines of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), based on the Brazilian Inventories of Anthropogenic Emissions and Removal of Greenhouse Gases, from the MCTIC (Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications).

Researchers from the NGOs worked at SEEG Municipalities: Ipam and Imazon (Land Use Change), Imaflora (Agropecuária), Iema (Energy and Industrial Processes) and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (Waste).

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Solange A. Barreira                           Claudio Angelo             

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