Distrust of Brazil's environmental policy persists after COP26

Brazilian diplomacy says that they left the COP (Climate Conference) in Glasgow with satisfaction.

Led by Environment Minister Joaquim Leite, the delegation, which included a considerable number of businessmen, representatives of agribusiness and industry, said it was committed to presenting the “real Brazil”.

In his last speech at the COP26 to journalists, last Friday (12), however, Leite avoided commenting on updated data that became known that morning: there has never been so much deforestation in the Amazon in the month of October as registered in 2021, pointed out the Deter alert system, from Inpe (National Institute for Space Research).

Observers estimate that it persists the distrust of the international community prior to the COP26. “The government tried to convey the image of a country that protects the environment, that has something to teach in this regard, but it was contradicted by the facts”, says Suely Araujo, senior specialist in public policy at the network of civil society organizations Observatório do Clima. “You can’t erase a thousand days of environmental policy destruction with mere speech”, he adds, referring to the Bolsonaro government’s environmental policy.

At the end of the conference, Leite was confronted by journalists about this image of a country that insisted on presenting and the reality brought about by satellite images. The minister replied that there were several activities that Brazil would do well and, as an example, he mentioned recycling. No comments on the advance of devastation in the Amazon, which is also the largest national source of greenhouse gas emissions.

“This green fantasy built for the COP doesn’t stop standing —and it does mine trust in the country at a time when the whole world needs collective solutions based on mutual trust”, criticizes Carolina Pasquali, executive director of Greenpeace Brasil.

After the conference was over, Brazilian diplomacy used their digital channels to try to refute another issue present at the COP26: the treatment that the country has given to indigenous peoples.

In an apparent attempt to counteract the facts narrated by the largest indigenous delegation ever present at a conference of this type, Itamaraty said in one of its social networks that the “truth about Brazil and indigenous peoples” includes official investments in welfare and protection, defense freedom and autonomy, guaranteeing the health and dignity of all ethnic groups.

During air At the meeting in Glasgow, leaders of different peoples held several meetings and sought ways to integrate into official discussions. They asked international interlocutors not to buy products from areas of deforestation, to support the demarcation of indigenous lands and actions to protect the forest.

The speech of the Brazilian Txai Suruí at the opening of the COP, which mentioned the murder of those who protect the forest, it also reverberated beyond expectation and displeased the Brazilian government.

“There was a very significant presence of indigenous populations, black movement, quilombolas, Brazilian youth, counting here about the crisis and the war on the environment that is advancing, destroying law, forests and causing a lot of violence against local communities”, comments Carlos Rittl, specialist in public policy at the Rainforest Foundation of Norway.

Agreements and targets

During the COP26, Brazil announced an adjustment to its Nationally Determined Contribution, NDC, in English acronym. Leite has promised that Brazil will cut 400% of greenhouse gases up to 2030 compared to

levels . The previous reduction target was 30%.

In practice, however, this goal “ties up” with what Brazil had already proposed in 2005, at the COP that created the Paris Agreement. Is that that original NDC was revised in 2005, in the Bolsonaro government, which changed the calculation basis that serves as a reference to stipulate the cut. With the change, the country would reach 2021 emitting 400 millions of tons of CO2 more than previously stipulated.

The country signed two important declarations announced in Glasgow. The first of them commits to zeroing and reversing the loss of forests in the world until 2030; the second stipulates cutting global methane emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to levels of 2020.

The question, however, is whether the current government will provide conditions for the country to get back on track in time to meet the targets. “Not even the adhesion to the unofficial agreements for forests and methane had a great impact on the doubts of the effective fulfillment of these promises”, points out WWF-Brasil.

The expectation is that the pressure of the external consumer market has some effect, ponders the Climate Observatory. “Even though the current Brazilian government has no intention of complying with it, Brazil’s three main commodity buyers — China, the United States and the European Union — have adhered to the pact (on forests), and China has announced that it will consider legislation to stop imports of products arising from deforestation”, according to a note from the civil coalition.

The lack of climate ambition of the federal government, on the other hand, was compensated to some extent by governors present at the meeting, he opines Karen Oliveira, member of the Coalition Brazil Climate, Forests and Agriculture.

“They presented an integrated work between civil society and the private sector, with concrete results and solutions that contribute to reducing emissions. such a cohesive and strong alliance,” says Oliveira.

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