Spotlight Activity: Election of Jair Bolsinaro as Brazil’s New President
Perhaps the most significant event related to climate change in Brazil in 2018 was the election of the new President Jair Bolsinaro. Last November, the President elect said that he endorsed Brazil’s decision not to host the United Nations Climate Conference in 2019. “To our future minister, I recommended that this event should be avoided here in Brazil. Even because I ask you to help us, there is ‘Triple A’ at stake in this agreement.” According to him, Triple A would be a strip that surrounds the Andes, the Amazon and the Atlantic Ocean. For Bolsonaro, the Paris Accord would jeopardize national sovereignty within that territory. However, there is no mention of the so-called Triple A in the agreement.
Officially, the Brazilian government said that the budget for the event was set by the Ministry of the Environment in October of 2018, and it had been concluded that there was money to do so. However, later, they also stated that there was a mistake, because the budget did not consider the transition of government in January of 2019, which generates a change in the fiscal budget. Brazil confirmed its candidacy in 2017, during COP 23, and was approved by the UN leaving a good impression. The country is seen as a reference in the fight against greenhouse gases, especially for combating deforestation in the Amazon.
The announcement of Brazil came just a week before the COP 24, which happened in the city of Katowice, Poland. In the report published on its website before the conference, the UN said it would ask for more commitment from the G20 countries that had pledged themselves to the Paris Accord to triple their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. As is the tradition of the Conference of the Climate to happen in different regions alternately, Chile has applied to host the 2019 event.
Status: Falling Behind
The decision not to host COP 25 in Brazil is a representation of new president Jair Bolsonaro’s position on the climate agenda. It is evident that the threats of Brazil to leave the Paris Climate Agreement are increasing, and it can put the effectiveness of the agreement in check.
Mr. Mauro Vieira, Chief of Brazilian Mission to the United Nations.
Brazil has always played a leading role in the climate agenda, but now the new President Jair Bolsonaro signals an abandonment of this historic role of the country. The decision not to host COP 25 symbolizes the lack of commitment of the new government to the climate agenda, and the country’s possible abandonment of the Paris Agreement. It must be emphasized that environmental issues are crucial for human development, and a country of such importance as Brazil cannot turn its back on the climate challenges we face today, which should increase in the coming years. It is also important to emphasize that ESG sustainability criteria are increasingly being used to determine the portfolios of the main investment funds worldwide, and the country will lose attractiveness as a destination of these resources, which, in addition to the climate issue by itself, could limit the country’s economic and social development.
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Chief of Brazilian Mission to the United Nations
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