Brazil is the second most optimistic country about the outcome of the UN Climate Conference (COP27), currently being held at Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt.
A survey by data and consulting company Kantar found that 42 percent of Brazilians believe COP27 will lead to significant progress in tackling climate change. Only Indians are more optimistic, with 56 percent believing this. In the UK, which hosted last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, just 9 percent are that optimistic while the global average is 22 percent.
A further 35 percent of Brazilians believe that COP27 will lead to some progress in tackling climate change (compared to a world average of 34 percent), while 9 percent believe it will only lead to a small amount of progress (28 percent think this globally). Meanwhile, 14 percent of Brazilians surveyed have no opinion on the matter.
Brazil’s optimism may be down to the recent election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the pledges he made at COP27 on Wednesday. The president-elect, who was given a warm welcome in Sharm el-Sheikh, promised to make the fight against climate change, and notably illegal deforestation in the Amazon, top priorities in his government. He also called on rich countries to cough up cash for emissions reduction efforts by developing nations.
Under outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has not attended any of the COPs to have taken place during his presidency, Brazil became something of an international pariah on climate issues.
Amazon deforestation soared on Mr. Bolsonaro’s watch, reaching a 15-year high, while the president rejected any international concern with the state of the rainforest, a vital climate-regulating ecosystem, as unwelcome foreign interference.
There are high hopes, both among climate-conscious Brazilians and the international community, that things will change under Lula. “Brazil is back,” Lula told the COP27 attendees.
But the outcome of the COP27 negotiations depend on more than Brazil’s goodwill. A draft document presented by Egypt on Thursday morning, which provides an outline on what the final agreement – still under negotiation and in theory due in less than 48 hours – might look like, was slammed as paving the way to “climate hell” by NGO Greenpeace.
The Kantar survey also found that Brazilians are relatively well-informed about the climate conference: 44 percent said they had heard about COP27 and knew what it was about, above the global average of 32 percent.