How did Brazil fare in the United Nations’ COP 25?

. Dec 12, 2019
How did Brazil fare in the United Nations' COP 25? Demonstration for the Climate Change during the COP25 in Madrid. Photo: PH_M/Shutterstock

One would have to go to the back of the very last conference room to find the small stand housing the “Brazil Climate Action Hub” at Madrid’s IFEMA convention center. For the first time in 12 years, the Brazilian government opted not to have an official stand at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25). The aforementioned hub was put up by members of civil society concerned about climate change—and it was Brazil’s only representation at COP 25.

</p> <p>The conference turned out to be a perfect snapshot of how dismissive the current Brazilian administration has been about the environment. COP 25 was supposed to be held in Brazil—but the country <a href="">pulled out</a> from its hosting duties. Chile accepted the task, but waves of violent protests led COP 25 to be transferred to the Spanish capital.</p> <p>The Jair Bolsonaro administration&#8217;s environmental rap sheet includes legislation allowing the plantation of <a href="">sugarcane in forest areas</a>, rules making life easier for <a href="">land-grabbers</a>—not to mention the continued dismantling of environmental protection agencies. On his watch, Amazon fires spiked and deforestation rates—which had already been increasing—shot up even higher.</p> <div class="flourish-embed" data-src="visualisation/659590"></div><script src=""></script> <h2>Brazil&#8217;s goals at COP 25</h2> <p>Environment Minister Ricardo Salles went to Madrid to convince developed nations to fund the country&#8217;s anti-deforestation efforts. He will come home empty-handed.</p> <p>It is worth remembering that the <a href="">Amazon Fund</a>—established in 2008 and financed by Norway and Germany—raised BRL 3.4 billion to fund preservation initiatives. But the fund has been left inactive since the government began squabbling with the two European countries. In May, Mr. Salles angered investors by suggesting the Amazon Fund should be used to pay compensation to rural landowners who had lost rights to territory as a result of the demarcation of environmental conservation areas. The last straw, however, was when the government essentially extinguished the committees responsible for allocating the fund&#8217;s resources.</p> <p>Moreover, the Amazon Fund was established <em>after</em> Brazil began to dramatically decrease deforestation rates—not the other way around.</p> <h2>So, how did Brazil fare?</h2> <p>Before the event, Brazil was seen by the international community as being &#8220;disconnected from political leaders&#8221; and &#8220;unclear&#8221; about its goals. In his speeches at COP 25, Mr. Salles ignored the crises facing Brazil and said the country had shown good results in forest preservation and the use of clean energy sources.</p> <p>Mr. Salles supported the idea of carbon credits along the lines of those negotiated by the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997. But a <a href="">2015 report</a> showed that a key carbon offsetting scheme was so open to abuse that &#8220;three-quarters of its allowances lacked environmental integrity.&#8221;</p> <p>Brazil notoriously tried—alongside China, India, and Saudi Arabia—to block multilateral negotiations at COP 25. The country was labeled by some developing countries as &#8220;part of a problem&#8221; that could turn the conference into a flop. &#8220;They look back to say developed countries haven&#8217;t done right—and thus they won&#8217;t do their part,&#8221; said Carlos Fuller, who represents insular developing states, to the <em>BBC.</em></p> <p>The whole point of COP 25 was to elevate the level of demands for countries&#8217; environmental agenda, setting up a plan according to which nations will present new climate goals by late 2020. But Brazil was among the countries which opposed the inclusion of the term &#8220;<a href="">climate emergency</a>&#8221; in the event&#8217;s final declaration.</p> <p>All in all, the only reward Brazil got at COP 25 was two Fossil of the Day awards, a satirical trophy presented to countries that are &#8220;doing their best&#8221; to block progress in negotiations to combat climate change.

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