Nov 1, 2021 1:57 PM EDT

Brazil steps up its emissions commitment, and critics are wary

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil on Monday stepped up its commitment against greenhouse gas emissions, aiming to halve them by 2030 as compared to 2005 levels, while critics alleged the government is tinkering with data.

“We present today a new, more ambitious climate goal,” Environment Minister Joaquim Leite said at the U.N. Glasgow climate conference.

Brazil previously targeted 43% fewer emissions by 2030 versus 25 years earlier.

The announcement in Glasgow represents another effort by the Brazilian government to project itself as a responsible environmental steward in the wake of surging deforestation and fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and Pantanal wetlands in recent years. But critics cautioned that its shift should be viewed with skepticism.

Experts have accused Brazil of previously adjusting its emissions targets in a way that would allow it to release more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. The government significantly increased the estimate for its baseline, making its target easier to accomplish.

Rodrigo Agostinho, a federal lawmaker and member of the Brazilian delegation to Glasgow, told The Associated Press that “no one trusts Brazil anymore” — and that won’t change even with a more ambitious emissions target.