Amazon plays a key role in regulating the global climate. Brazil's elected president, Jair Bolsonaro, has expressed skepticism about environmental…
Felipe Werneck / AP
Brazil has canceled its bid to host a major UN climate change conference next year, with questions about how the incoming right administration manages environmental issues.
The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the announcement and said it took its offer because of “the current budget and budget constraints, which are expected to remain in the near future,” according to a statement to The Associated Press.
But shortly after, President Jair Bolsonaro stated that he had asked his incoming foreign minister to close the summit. And he gave another reason.
“Environmental policy can not interfere with Brazil’s development,” he said, according to AP. “Today, the economy is almost back on track thanks to agribusiness, and they are stifled by environmental issues.”
There is a clear shift in the tone of the current administration. The Rio Times reported that the Ministry of the Environment recently announced that Brazil would host the conference and said it “reflected the consensus of Brazil on the importance and urgency of measures that help combat climate change.”
Environmental groups are scary. “This is not the first and will definitely not be the last piece of bad news from Jair Bolsonaro to this area,” said the environmental group Observatoório do Clima in a statement.
“Thus, Brazil is descending from its own role in the world in one of the few areas where the country is not only relevant but also necessary: combating global climate change,” added.
It is not clear exactly how Bolsonaro plans to change Brazil’s environmental policy. At the same time as NPR Philip Reeves reported, Bolsonaro has said he wants to “unleash Brazil’s environmental laws, which he says strives for economic growth” – and it is “causing deep alarms in home and abroad among those struggling to conserve the Amazon rainforest . “
Brazil is seen as crucial for meeting global climate goals. WWF in Brazil notes “The country is currently the 7th largest greenhouse gas emitter, and the Amazon plays a key role in regulating the global climate.”
According to a report released this month through the United Nations Environment Program, Brazil released 2.3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions 2017.
The report shows that global carbon dioxide emissions rose 2017 for the first time in four years.
“Science is clear, for all the ambitious climate measures we have seen, governments must move faster and more rapidly” UNEP Executive Vice President Director Joyce Msuya said in a statement . “We feed this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach.”
Brazil drew its offer next year a few days before the summit of the year, known as COP 24, opened in Katowice, Poland. And the outcome will give a concrete opinion on how much progress has been made since the Paris agreement: the UN notes that this year is the “deadline agreed by the parties’ parties to adopt a work program for the implementation of the Paris commitments.”