Civil Society Letter to the Brazilian Designated National Authority

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mr. Sanderson Alberto Medeiros Leitão
Global Climate Changes Division Head
Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation
Esplanada dos Ministérios,
Bloco E - 2 andar - sala 268
70067-900, Brasilia-DF

Dear Mr. Sanderson Alberto Medeiros Leitão,

We are writing to express our concern regarding the applications of controversial large Brazilian dam projects for carbon credits within the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). These projects include the Madeira Complex projects – 3150 MW Santo Antônio Hydropower Project and the 3750 MW Jirau Dam – and the 1820 MW Teles Pires Dam in the Tapajós Basin.

In order to receive letters of approval, these projects must demonstrate to the Comissão Interministerial de Mudança Global do Clima that they meet a series of criteria on sustainable development.  However, as we describe below and in greater detail in the Annex, these projects fail to meet these criteria on a number of fronts:

  • Contribution to local environmental sustainability: None of these projects contribute to local environmental sustainability, and all three hydropower plants have had their environmental licenses legally questioned by federal prosecutors because of their enormous environmental and social impacts. Experts have criticized their EIAs, citing the lack of consideration for transboundary impacts, underestimation of sedimentation, impact on migratory fish species and subsequent effects for the food security of both indigenous and urban citizens.
  • Contribution to improvement of labor conditions and net job creation: It would be absurd to consider that the dams contribute to the development of good working conditions. Repeated strikes and demonstrations by workers at Jirau and San Antônio have exposed poor working conditions, including inadequate sanitary facilities, poor food provision, lack of appropriate medical care, uninhabitable shelters, etc.
  • Contribution to the distribution of income: It is well known that these projects have negatively impacted a large number of families in coastal, fishing and farming communities, through the loss of their lands and livelihood resources. In addition, the cost of living, urban violence, and prostitution in the new development areas is expected to rise, thereby negatively affecting local economies and most residents.
  • Contribution to training and technological development: These projects clearly have not contributed positively to worker training. In addition, CDM financing could be supporting new and innovative technological developments rather than hydropower, which already contributes 80% to the overall electricity supply.
  • Contribution to regional integration and linkages with other sectors: As the energy generated by these projects will be for the interconnected system to meet the national energy demand, the contribution of plants to regional development is small.

In addition, these projects do not meet the CDM criteria for sustainable development and additionality on the following grounds:

  • Projects emit greenhouse gases: As demonstrated by the latest research in reservoir emissions, hydroelectric plants in the tropics are intrinsically large emitters of CO2 and CH4. In addition to large emissions produced by decomposition of submerged vegetation in the reservoirs – particularly in the first 10 years of the plant (the period of the CDM projects) – a large amount of methane is released also at the turbines, spillways, and from the surface of the water immediately downstream. Moreover, these projects will lead to greater deforestation of the Amazon rainforest – a key climate regulator and carbon stock – through an increase in migration, land speculation, and through spurring large-scale soybean agribusinesses.
  • Projects are not additional: The resources for implementing all three projects are guaranteed by private and public investors and public funding through the participation of state companies and the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES). All three dams are already under construction, which proves that they would have been built regardless of CDM funding and are therefore not additional.

We urge you not to issue letters of approval to any of these projects, since they do not comply with your criteria for CDM participation. If approved, these projects would undermine international mitigation efforts and would be prejudicial to the integrity of your criteria and procedures. In addition, we would welcome if you could clarify your vision for Brazil’s participation in the CDM and reaffirm its commitment to keeping the guidelines strong.

We would be happy to provide further information on technical data and scientific analyses for these projects, or participate in meetings for further discussion on this matter.


Brent Millikan                   
International Rivers      

Philip Fearnside

Additional signatories:

1.    AATR – Associação de Advogados de Trabalhadores Rurais no Estado da Bahia – Salvador – BA

2.    Amigos da Terra Brasil – Porto Alegre – RS

3.    ANAÍ – Salvador – BA

4.    Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) – Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka

5.    Associação Aritaguá – Ilhéus – BA

6.    Associaçâo Interamericana para a Defensa do Ambiente (AIDA) – Mexico

7.    Associação de Moradores de Porto das Caixas (vítimas do derramamento de óleo da Ferrovia Centro Atlântica)  – Itaboraí – RJ

8.    Associação Socioambiental Verdemar  – Cachoeira – BA

9.    Beyond Copenhagen Collective – India

10.    CEDEFES (Centro de Documentação Eloy Ferreira da Silva) – Belo Horizonte – MG

11.    Central Única das Favelas (CUFA-CEARÁ) – Fortaleza – CE

12.    Centro de Estudos e Defesa do Negro do Pará (CEDENPA) – Belém – PA

13.    Coordenação Nacional de Juventude Negra – Recife – PE

14.    CEPEDES (Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas para o Desenvolvimento do Extremo Sul da Bahia) – Eunápolis – BA

15.    CPP (Conselho Pastoral dos Pescadores) Nacional

16.    CPP BA – Salvador – BA

17.    CPP CE – Fortaleza – CE

18.    CPP Nordeste – Recife (PE, AL, SE, PB, RN)

19.    CPP Norte (Paz e Bem) – Belém – PA

20.    CPP Juazeiro – BA

21.    CPT – Comissão Pastoral da Terra Nacional

22.    CRIOLA – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

23.    EKOS – Instituto para a Justiça e a Equidade –  São Luís – MA

24.    FAOR – Fórum da Amazônia Oriental – Belém – PA

25.    Fase Amazônia – Belém – PA

26.    Fase Nacional (Núcleo Brasil Sustentável) – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

27.    FDA (Frente em Defesa da Amazônia)  – Santarém – PA

28.    FIOCRUZ – RJ

29.    Foro Boliviano sobre Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo (FOBOMADE) – Bolivia

30.    Fórum da Amazônia Oriental – Belém – PA

31.    Fórum Carajás – São Luís – MA

32.    Fórum de Defesa da Zona Costeira do Ceará – Fortaleza – CE

33.    Fórum Mudanças Climáticas e Justiça Social – Brasília – DF  

34.    Fórum de Mulheres da Amazônia Paraense – Umarizal – RN

35.    FUNAGUAS – Terezina – PI

36.    Fundación M´Biguá, Ciudadanía y Justicia Ambiental – Argentina

37.    GELEDÉS – Instituto da Mulher Negra  – São Paulo – SP

38.    GPEA (Grupo Pesquisador em Educação Ambiental da UFMT) – Cuiabá – MT

39.    Grupo de Pesquisa Historicidade do Estado e do Direito: interações sociedade e meio ambiente, da UFBA – Salvador – BA

40.    GT Observatório e GT Água e Meio Ambiente do Fórum da Amazônia Oriental (FAOR)  - Belém – PA

41.    Gujarat Forum on CDM – India

42.    IARA – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

43.    Ibase – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

44.    INESC – Brasília – DF

45.    Instituto Búzios – Salvador – BA

46.    Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia Fluminense – IF Fluminense – Macaé – RJ

47.    Instituto Humanitas – Belém – PA

48.    Instituto Madeira Vivo (IMV) – Porto Velho – RO

49.    Instituto Terramar – Fortaleza – CE

50.    Instituto de Valorização Ambiental e Humana (IVAH) – Natal – RN

51.    Justiça Global  – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

52.    Kanindé Associação de Defesa Etnoambiental – Porto Velho – RO

53.    Movimento Cultura de Rua (MCR) – Fortaleza – CE

54.    Movimento Inter-Religioso (MIR/Iser) – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

55.    Movimento Popular de Saúde de Santo Amaro da Purificação (MOPS) – Santo Amaro da Purificação – BA

56.    Movimento Wangari Maathai – Salvador – BA

57.    NINJA – Núcleo de Investigações em Justiça Ambiental (Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei) – São João del-Rei – MG

58.    Núcleo TRAMAS (Trabalho Meio Ambiente e Saúde para Sustentabilidade/UFC) – Fortaleza – CE

59.    Observatório Ambiental Alberto Ribeiro Lamego – Macaé – RJ

60.    Omolaiyè (Sociedade de Estudos Étnicos, Políticos, Sociais e Culturais)  – Aracajú – SE

61.    ONG.GDASI – Grupo de Defesa Ambiental e Social de Itacuruçá – Mangaratiba – RJ

62.    Opção Brasil – São Paulo – SP

63.    Organização Coletiva dos Pescadores Tradicionais de Jaci-Paraná (PIRÁ) – RO

64.    Oriashé Sociedade Brasileira de Cultura e Arte Negra  – São Paulo – SP

65.    Paryavaran Mitra – India

66.    Projeto Recriar – Ouro Preto – MG

67.    Rede Axé Dudu  – Cuiabá – MT

68.    Rede Matogrossense de Educação Ambiental – Cuiabá – MT

69.    RENAP Ceará – Fortaleza – CE

70.    Sociedade de Melhoramentos do São Manoel – São Manoel – SP

71.    Terra de Direitos – Paulo Afonso – BA

72.    TOXISPHERA – Associação de Saúde Ambiental – PR

73.    Uniön Popular Valle Gömez – Mexico


1.    Ana Almeida – Salvador – BA

2.    Ana Paula Cavalcanti - Rio de Janeiro - RJ

3.    Antonio Sarmiento G, Instituto de Matemáticas, UNAM – Mexico

4.    Angélica Cosenza Rodrigues - Juiz de Fora – Minas

5.    Carmela Morena Zigoni – Brasília – DF

6.    Cíntia Beatriz Müller – Salvador – BA

7.    Cláudio Silva – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

8.    Daniel Fonsêca – Fortaleza – CE

9.    Daniel Silvestre – Brasília – DF

10.    Danilo D’Addio Chammas - São Luiz – MA

11.    Diogo Rocha – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

12.    Florival de José de Souza Filho – Aracajú – SE

13.    Igor Vitorino – Vitória – ES

14.    Janaína Tude Sevá – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

15.    Josie Rabelo – Recife – PE

16.    Juliana Souza – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

17.    Leila Santana – Juazeiro - BA

18.    Luan Gomes dos Santos de Oliveira – Natal – RN

19.    Luís Claúdio Teixeira (FAOR e CIMI) Belém- PA

20.    Maria do Carmo Barcellos – Cacoal – RO

21.    Mauricio Sebastian Berger – Córdoba, Argentina

22.    Norma Felicidade Lopes da Silva Valencio – São Carlos - SP

23.    Pedro Rapozo – Manaus – AM

24.    Raquel Giffoni Pinto – Volta Redonda – RJ

25.    Ricardo Stanziola – São Paulo – SP

26.    Ruben Siqueira – Salvador – BA

27.    Rui Kureda – São Paulo – SP

28.    Samuel Marques – Salvador – BA

29.    Tania Pacheco - Rio de Janeiro – RJ

30.    Telma Monteiro – Juquitiba – SP

31.    Teresa Cristina Vital de Sousa – Recife – PE

32.    Tereza Ribeiro  – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

33.    Vânia Regina de Carvalho – Belém - PA

CC Representatives of the Global Climate Changes Division:
André Correa do, Ministério das Relações Exteriores
Luiz Antônio Corrêa da Silva, Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento
Monica Maria Libório Feitosa de Araújo, Ministério dos Transportes
Altino Ventura Filho, Ministério de Minas e Energia
Mauro Cesar Lambert de Brito Ribeiro, Ministério do Planejamento, Orçamento e Gestão
Karen Regina Suassuna, Ministério do Meio Ambiente
Carlos Afonso Nobre, Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia
Alexandre Comin, Ministério do Desenvolvimento, Indústria e Comércio Exterior
Leíza Martins Mackay Dubugras, Casa Civil da Presidência da República
Luiz Carlos Bueno Lima, Ministério das Cidades
João Luiz Tedeschi, Ministério da Fazenda

Eva Filzmoser, Director, CDM Watch