Brazil’s New President May Tear Up Paris Agreement

By Paul Homewood



The next domino could be about to fall in the climate wall!




Bolsonaro was quite clear in the run up to the election, that he would look to take Brazil out of the Paris Agreement, as Huff Post reminded us the other week:



The rise of far-right authoritarian Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential race has caused concerns about what he could mean for the health of the world’s fourth-largest democracy and its most marginalized communities ― especially black Brazilians, the indigenous, women and LGBTQ people who are the targets of his most violent rhetoric.

But a Bolsonaro victory, which polls suggest is almost assured on Oct. 28, would also have a major global implication: It could spell doom for the worldwide fight against climate change.

Few countries are more important to stemming climate change than Brazil, which is home to the Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado savanna ― two of the most crucial environmental defenses against global warming.

And over the last two decades, no country as large as Brazil has assumed more of a leadership role in addressing the crisis. While many large nations dawdled in addressing the threat, Brazil made dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions since 2004. It has emerged as one of the planet’s leading producers of sustainable biofuels, and in 2017 it launched an ambitious effort to plant more than 70 million trees to help reforest the Amazon ― and thus increase absorption of carbon dioxide.

Bolsonaro, however, could threaten much, if not all, of that progress.

He has acknowledged the threat of climate change. But on the campaign trail, he has promised to shutter Brazil’s Ministry of the Environment and put many of its administrative and regulatory duties under the charge of other agencies. He has said he would seek to withdraw Brazil from the Paris climate accord (following the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump).

Bolsonaro has committed to stop demarcating indigenous lands in the Amazon and further open the forest to mining interests. And he has pledged to loosen regulatory regimes over land-use and deforestation in the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

A move by Brazil to absolve its leadership role on climate change through the election of Bolsonaro would have “huge consequences” for the rest of the world, said Steve Schwartzman, the senior director of tropical forest policy at the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund.

“The kinds of policies Bolsonaro has talked about could be catastrophic,” Schwartzman said. “Brazil is still the world leader in reducing greenhouse gas pollution. If that changes, it’s exactly what Brazil doesn’t need, and exactly what the world doesn’t need.”


Huff Post’s claim that Brazil has made dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is, of course, a load of nonsense. BP figures show that emissions of CO2 have risen by 17% since 2010, excluding Land Use changes.

Huff’s own link admits that their claim is based on Brazil slowing the rate of rain forest destruction. While this may be highly worthy, it has not actually cut emissions.

Brazil’s emissions are roughly the same as the UK, so will not make any drastic difference to global numbers. And their INDC at Paris was essentially based around slowing down the large scale deforestation of the last few decades.

But if they withdraw from Paris, it will have a major effect diplomatically.


October 29, 2018 at 02:18PM

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