The State of Rio de Janeiro

Population: 15,989,929 (2010)
GDP: US$196.6 billion (2009)
Country: Brazil

CO2 emission data (2010): 67 Million tCO2eq

In Brazil, among the 26 states and the Federal District, Rio de Janeiro has the fourth smallest area in the Federation, although it has the third largest coastal strip. Rio de Janeiro State has the third most populous and the second largest GDP. It is one of the dynamic axes of the Brazilian southeast region, whose economy is the most prosperous of the country. In fact, Rio State alone would be among the 40 largest economies in the world, combining economic development with environmental protection. It is the leading state for investment attraction and job creation in Brazil, while standing at the top of the rank for the conservation of the Atlantic Forest. 

The State has the largest oil reserves of Brazil, located in Campos and Santos offshore basins. Recent discoveries of oil in the pre-salt area, mainly nearby Rio's coast, represented a milestone in the country´s oil exploration. The assessment of the petroleum potential of these areas indicates volumes of oil and gas reserves that situate Brazil among the countries with the largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas worldwide.

The State of Rio hosted, in 1992, the first UN event including a massive presence of heads of state, which was then considered the largest conference ever held on the planet. Rio 92 was a landmark event in sustainability. In 2012, Rio hosted another major event, Rio +20. This event celebrated the twenty years of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio 92), and helped to define the sustainable development agenda for the next decades.

In this context, considering the government’s intention to foster a transition to a low carbon economy, the Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro signed the Decree 43216 (of September 30, 2011), establishing rules for the State Policy on Climate Change and Sustainable Development (Law 5690 of April, 2010). This legal instrument sets the necessary adaptation and mitigation measures that will have to be implemented to face climate change.

According to the above-mentioned Decree, the goals for GHG emission reduction in Rio de Janeiro State are defined for the state as a whole, as well as for some specific sectors of public activities.

  • Key Targets / Successes

    Goals for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction (by sector) 


    Emissions issued from the energy used in transport vehicles should be reduced by 30% compared to 2010, which represents 5,400,000 tCO2 avoided in transport by 2030.


    The emission limits for this sector were established based on per capita values, and restricted to 84 kg CO2 eq., which represents a reduction of 65% compared to 2005 values (241 kg CO2 eq. per inhabitant). This equates to 3.3 million tCO2 eq. avoided in 2030. The percentage of recycled waste in the state was 2% in 2010. This amount is expected to grow gradually so that it reaches 15% in 2030.

    Sanitary Sewage

    The emission limits for this sector were established on per capita values, and restricted to 11 kg CO2 eq. per inhabitant, which represents a reduction of 65% compared to 2005 values (31 kg CO2 eq.), as well as 0.56 million tCO2 eq. avoided in 2030.

    Energy Efficiency

    The energy efficiency measures to be implemented until 2030 will reduce emissions by 30% compared to 2005 (when 1.17 Million tCO2 were emitted). This represents 350,000 tCO2 eq. avoided in 2030. 


    Considering the share of basic industries in Rio Industrial Park, the industrial sector has the highest carbon intensity by unit of GDP (tCO2e/R$) in the State. In this sense, the Environment State Secretariat (SEA) conducted a study to evaluate the possible impacts of adopting goals to reduce GHG emissions from carbon-intensive industries in Rio de Janeiro’s economy ( To avoid damaging industrial competitiveness facing an arising carbon cost, scenarios were constructed to support and evaluate the effectiveness of the adoption of several policies.


    It will be constructed 1,000 MW in cogeneration units in the State with the objective of expanding by 400% the installed capacity (230 MW in 2010). The total clean energy and low carbon generated in Rio de Janeiro is expected to increase by 40% between 2010 and 2030. Such an initiative will avoid about 981,400 tCO2e in 2030, if thermal power plants were to be installed. The increased supply of low-carbon energy is also the goal of the Rio Capital Energy Program.

  • Current activities

    Energy Efficiency

    Considering the state energy potential, the Governor signed a decree, in 2011, which drove the creation of the Rio Capital Energy Program, whose main objective is to mobilize society and concentrate resources in the debate on sustainable development of the energy sector, transforming the Rio de Janeiro State into a center of global benchmark for technological innovation, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

    Main projects made available by the program:

    Smart cities (Búzios) 

    A case study has been conducted based on the implementation of a smart city in the municipality of Búzios. The initiative aims to transform the city’s power grid into a highly automated and fully integrated one, including aspects of centralized control, diagnosis, reparation and remote management of measurers. Búzios Smart City will demonstrate key concepts in "Smart Energy" intensely needed to contribute to Brazil's energy goals.

    - The Energy and Development Green Fund

    The Energy and Development Green Fund for the campus of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro was established by the Decree No. 43.903, from October 24, 2012. Rio de Janeiro State will allocate the ICMS (tax on the circulation of merchandises and services) normally collected from the campus electricity bills to capitalize the Fund, over a period of ten years. These resources will be used in energy projects and sustainable infrastructure for generation and rational use of energy, and urban mobility.

    Renewable Energy                                                                                                               

    In partnership with the State Secretariat for Economic Development, Energy, Industry and Services (SEDEEIS), the Environment State Secretariat (SEA) is encouraging the use of solar photovoltaic in Rio. With the Charter of the Sun, released in 2011, these departments seek to define and consolidate actions and public policies at the Federal, State and Municipal levels, in order to accomplish through an efficient and rational manner the national potential exploration of solar power as an energy source.

    Clean Transportation

    - Rio Sustainable Transport

    Thanks to the Rio Sustainable Transport Program, developed by the Transport State Secretariat, several studies and massive investments in new technologies are being conducted through partnerships with large manufacturers, academic institutions and industrial companies. Since 2007, many initiatives have come into operation and presented important results. Experiences with biodiesel between 5 and 20%, as well engines fueled with hydrogen, natural gas, sugar cane diesel and electricity are some of the highlighted projects approved by the Transport State Secretariat.

    - Fleet Truck Modernization, Renovation and Sustainability Program of Rio de Janeiro State

    The goal of this program is to reduce the average age of the truck fleet in Rio de Janeiro State from 17 to 12 years over a period of 5 years. The new vehicles that will replace those with more than 20 years and that submit a certificate of self-destruction will be exempt from taxes on the circulation of merchandises and services (ICMS).

    Sustainable Land Use

    - Project for Sustainable Rural Development in micro-watersheds of Rio de Janeiro State - RIO RURAL - IBRD

    This project aims to promote the sustainable development of the rural sector and the reduction of threats to the environment, through the intervention in the productive systems, and the support of activities meant to increase the productivity and competitiveness of family farming.

    RIO RURAL IBRD will invest US$ 79 million in sustainable actions in 270 watersheds in 59 municipalities until 2015. From these amount,  $ 39.5 million will be invested by the Rio de Janeiro State and the other half financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

    Through the adoption of the methodology of micro-watersheds, the project will identify and support local initiatives and arrangements that enable the generation of income in rural areas, respecting the environment and social equity, thereby improving society´s standard of living.

    RIO RURAL IBRD represents the expansion of the strategies of the Rio Rural GEF Project, helping to reduce the threats to biodiversity, to increase carbon stocks in agricultural landscape and to reverse the process of land degradation in critical and unique ecosystems of global importance for the Atlantic Forest.

    Waste Management

    Zero Dumpsite

    The goal of the State Government is to eradicate by 2014 all existing dumpsites, so that the 92 cities in the State of Rio de Janeiro will dispose their solid waste in landfills - some of them with energy recovery pants, transforming into energy the methane gas generated by the decomposition of waste.

    One of the main activities of the State Government for the eradication of municipal dumpsites by 2014 - as determined by the National Solid Waste Law - is the Zero Dumpsite Program, which is coordinated by the Environment State Secretariat (SEA), and incorporates the Sanitation Pact and the Clean Guanabara Plan.

    The Zero Dumpsite Program is a successful program. At the end of 2013, the reality in the sector changed dramatically, with 62 cities already discarding their trash in environmentally suitable locations, in landfills or in solid waste treatment centrals. These 62 cities account for 93.45% (15,856 tons/day) of municipal solid waste generated in Rio de Janeiro State.

    By the end of 2014, all 92 Rio de Janeiro municipalities should be pouring 16,970 tons of garbage per day in landfills or waste treatment centrals, fulfilling the target of closuring all municipal dumpsites by 2014.

    - Eco-barriers

    To reduce pollution of water bodies by floating garbage, removing and recycling the waste collected in rivers, bays and lagoons of Rio de Janeiro, the State Environmental Institute (INEA) performs theFloating Garbage Collect Project.

    With the installation of eco-barriers – structures made from recycled materials such as PET bottles, which are installed at the mouths of rivers and streams – and special boats for pickup, the floating garbage is retained and removed by scavengers, part being routed to the recycling industry.

    Until 2013, 14 eco-barriers had been installed – including 11 in rivers and canals that flow into the Guanabara Bay, being part of the Clean Guanabara Plan, which aims to clean up 80% of the bay until 2016, when the Olympic Games will be hosted by Rio.

     - Green Factory

    The Green Factory Project transforms electronic garbage into digital inclusion, generating employment and income for hundreds of residents of communities in Rio de Janeiro. Inaugurated in October 2011, in the neighboring area of Complexo do Alemão, the digital electronic recycling unit began to bear fruit, reaching other communities, such as Rocinha and Morro do Chacrinha at Tijuca, North Zone of Rio.

    About 1000 students have been trained by the project. They could somehow benefit from a professional alternative, and contribute to the mitigation of environmental contamination.

    The Green Factory Project also contributes to the solution, in Rio de Janeiro, of a serious environmental problem of the modern world: to give appropriate destination for electronic waste. Moreover, it stimulates reverse logistics, a process envisaged in the National Policy on Solid Waste, whereby the manufacturer engages in the final destination of the product it sells. Companies that donate computers receive in exchange the green stamp of the project.


    The creation and expansion of state parks, as well as the encouragement of the deployment of municipal units of conservation, are changing the reality of local forests. This leads Rio to be the state that most preserves and restores the Atlantic Forest in Brazil.

    - Municipal Conservation Unit Support Program - ProUC

    The ProUC supports municipalities at the creation and management of Municipal Conservation Units. With the support of the program, 92,710 hectares are under legal protection, which preserves many endangered species, hundreds of springs and riparian areas.

    - Forest Inventory

    The first inventory of the state focusing on Biodiversity, the Forest Inventory includes 283 sampling units of the Atlantic Forest, and implements a social-environmental questionnaire, to know about the use and perception of natural resources of the communities and families living around these units.

    In the region called Região dos Lagos, where the project started, 27 sampling units were collected, 184 environmental interviews were conducted, 18 endangered species were found and three new species of the Atlantic Forest flora were recorded.

    - The Atlantic Forest Conservation and Restoration Municipal Plans

    Today, each municipality in the northwestern region of the state has a Municipal Plan for the Atlantic Forest, indicating its programs and priorities concerning conservation and restoration projects, and strategic biodiversity corridors. Thanks to the creation of conservation units, 7 municipal conservation units were initially created, protecting 20,032.28 hectares, over 295 springs, 4 endangered species, and at least two endemic species of fauna and flora, which has been stimulating the region's touristic potential.


    Considering the society’s vulnerability to disasters, the importance of the topic and its significant impacts on the economy and the population’s living standards, Rio de Janeiro State government has defined as one of its main challenges the need to improve its flood risk management. Thus, on April 10, 2012, the government adopted the Law N 12.08 establishing the Protection and Civil Defense national policy – PNPDEC –, covering prevention, mitigation, readiness, response and recovery actions.

    - Prevention of flooding in the North and Northwest Regions

     In July 2014, the state government held works to mitigate flooding in the rivers Pomba and Muriaé, located in the North and Northwest regions. The interventions include the construction of dams for flood control, as well as works of demolition (removal of stones) and dredging (removal of sand and mud), drainage and urbanization. About 200,000 people will benefit from the project.

    Green Economy 

    Rio de Janeiro State government promotes the use of new tools for public policy, aiming to increase environmental quality. These instruments go beyond the command and control framework, traditional choice in addressing environmental issues. Among these tools, there are the market mechanisms, aligned with the precepts of green economy and sustainable finances.

    - BVRio

    The BVRio is a nationwide environmental stock exchange, created by the public sector (Green Economy State Undersecretariat and Finance Municipal Secretariat), the business sector and the third sector, sharing the view that market mechanisms are efficient instruments for implementing environmental policies and sustainable development. With these activities, BVRio has the ability to generate liquidity and promote the use of market mechanisms, which, in turn, facilitate compliance with environmental laws and the adoption of public policies that promote green economy in Brazil.

    - Green ICMS

    The Green ICMS is not a new tax, but rather a redistribution of resources already collected, taking into account environmental criteria. The municipalities that invest in environmental preservation have a greater transfer of ICMS (Tax on Circulation of Merchandises and Services).

    Created by law in 2007, the Green ICMS is causing a revolution in Rio de Janeiro State, with mayors increasingly investing in the environment in search of more resources for their cities. Thanks to the initiative, actions such as taking care of water quality, providing appropriate waste destination (the implementation of landfills), and conserving nature (the expansion of municipal protected areas) became profitable.

  • More info

    - Most important economic sectors

    Oil and gas, iron and steel, IT, chemicals and petrochemicals and automotive.

    GHG breakdown by sector (%):

    Power  35%
    Transport  16%
    Buildings  10%
    Industry  17%
    Agriculture/Forestry  15%
    Waste   5%

    Current power sector mix (2009):

    Coal  6.7%
    Gas  21.1%
    Nuclear  46.1%
    Wind  -
    Solar  -
    Biomass  -
    Hydropower  26.1%
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