That Brazil’s delegation is attending the opening of COP26 on Halloween night in Glasgow almost sounds like a macabre joke.
Under the stewardship of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil has become something of an environmental pariah, and its 100-person delegation is set to be put in the hot seat over the two weeks of climate conferences in the west of Scotland.
Despite the administration’s recent pledges to reduce carbon emissions ahead of COP26, a recent report showed that the country is throwing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than at any point in the past 14 years. Indeed, Brazil actually increased its gross emissions during the pandemic, going against worldwide trends.
Earlier this year, ahead of a climate leaders summit organized by U.S. President Joe Biden, the Bolsonaro government promised to end illegal deforestation by 2030 — providing it receives enough financial aid from rich countries. If said funds are not forthcoming, there is nothing to suggest that Brazil will not continue its rampant deforestation practices. A veritable trick-or-treat scenario.
The Bolsonaro administration has allowed the country’s trend of rising deforestation to get even worse, while the president is also accused of turning a blind eye to rainforest destruction and empowering land grabbers in the Amazon. Former Environment Minister Ricardo Salles faces charges of being part of a timber-trafficking ring.
President Bolsonaro has belittled Brazil’s role in causing climate change, a stance shared by many of his predecessors. But a new report by think tank Carbon Brief suggests that Brazil figures among the top 4 countries in terms of cumulative emissions since 1850, due to rampant deforestation since the late 19th century.
Mr. Bolsonaro himself will not be present in Glasgow, but his delegates are set to face a tough time in international negotiations — being guilty by association