Leaders’ Climate Summit ushers in a new order, without Brazil
A statement by the coordination committee of the Climate Observatory
The Leders’ Climate Summit, convened by President Joe Biden and opened on Thursday (22), marks a historic turning point in the global economy and geopolitics. The three largest global powers – the USA, China and the European Union – are expected to start a race towards green recovery and economic de-carbonization. This battle for hegemony will take place in a world that is less and less dependent on fossil fuels. The political signal was the announcements of the new targets for the United States, the UK, Canada, and Japan, and China’s promise to phase down coal. A new world order begins to emerge.
Brazil chose to stay out. The country has one of the most important assets in this new order, the Amazon, but the Jair Bolsonaro administration would rather hand it over to land grabbers, prospectors, predatory ranchers and illegal loggers. The country has no shortage of sun, wind and biofuel, but prefers to subsidize oil. It regresses in the ambition of its climate goals to admit more deforestation and more emissions at a time when the Paris Agreement finally starts to be taken seriously. Bolsonaro announced a deforestation goal that his very government had eliminated from Brazil’s Paris pledge, and committed to anticipate a climate neutrality target that has never been formally adopted.
“Brazil leaves the leaders’ summit as it entered it: discredited. Bolsonaro spent half of his speech asking the world for money for previous governments’ environmental achievements, the same ones he has been trying to undo from the day he was sworn in.” Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory
Bolsonaro made a deliberate choice for backwardness at a time when the country’s comparative advantages could attract investments, jobs and quality of life for Brazilians. This is no surprise coming from a leader who allied himself with the coronavirus against his own population, transforming the country into a huge cemetery.
The irony is completed by the fact that the summit takes place precisely on the first anniversary of Bolsonaro’s environment minister’s infamous statement about taking advantage of the commotion generated by the pandemic to “push the whole lot through”, meaning to approve antienvironmental regulations. This is the most perfect translation of the Brazilian reality at this global climate crossroads: prestige and resources are going to other tropical countries, while we are left to contend with Covid and deforestation. To the loser, the whole lot of devastation.
Solange A. Barreira Claudio Angelo