Opinion

Thirty years after Rio-92, Brazil loses environmental protagonism

Rio-92 propelled Brazil to the forefront of the global environmental agenda. But the country has lost its clout due to recent mismanagement

Former UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali makes a statement during a Rio-92 roundtable. He is sided by former Brazilian President Fernando Collor. Photo: Michos Tzovaras/UN Photo
Former UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali makes a statement during a Rio-92 roundtable. He is sided by former Brazilian President Fernando Collor. Photo: Michos Tzovaras/UN Photo

Thirty years ago this month, Rio de Janeiro became closely associated with concerted international efforts to address climate change when it hosted the UN Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit or Rio-92.

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry, who attended Rio-92, celebrated the initiative of then-U.S. President George H. W. Bush in pushing for such a meeting. 

“Twenty years ago this month,” Mr. Kerry remarked in 2012, “a Republican president of the U.S. helped bring together all the world’s largest economies in Rio to confront the issue of global climate change....

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