The failure of the Bolsonaro government to contain deforestation overshadowed the efficient performance of Itamaraty at the COP26, says Izabella Teixeira, former Minister of the Environment of 2010 The 2028 and one of the main negotiators of the Paris Agreement, by which, in 2015, countries have pledged to act to curb global warming. Second she, Brazilian diplomacy managed to reverse the erosion of the country’s image, but the government’s actions kept alive the international distrust of Brazil’s commitment to the climate crisis.
“The Ministry of the Environment’s omission on record deforestation showed an immediate contradiction with the efficiency of Brazilian diplomacy and suggests a ‘fake green’ action”, says the current co-chair of the international research panel of the UN environmental program .
In the opposite direction of leaders such as the US climate envoy, John Kerry, and Itamaraty itself, the Executive did not notice the power of responsible business and civil society, says Izabella.
“The environmental issue does not exist without the market vision, which is part of the solution. But this government came only with backward sectors and makes Brazil disembark from the contemporary world.”
At the stand of Brazilian civil society, excluded from the country’s delegation, the biologist and doctor in energy planning spoke with Folha between meetings with diplomats and MEPs, last Thursday () and on Sunday (14), after the end of the COP, the UN Climate Conference held in Glasgow (Scotland) of the days 26 from October to 12 from November.
Izabella, who worked in the Dilma and Lula administrations, but is not affiliated with parties and defines herself as a technical staff, says that Brazil has overcome the condition of pariah, but has sold an image unmasked by reality. “Investors have made it clear that it’s no use blah blah blah; the government will have to deliver results in deforestation.”
It is still possible to restrict heating to 1.5º C ? Still, but only because the text requires effective emission reduction plans from the countries until next year. It is possible, but not guaranteed. Who were the main actors in this COP? The US and China, with the agreement announced on Wednesday (10), a very strong sign of the relevance of the climate theme, the European Union and India, which was tough in negotiations to protect its geopolitical space. It is a country that is clear about its national interests. The importance of pressure from the private sector and civil society was cited by several leaders. Was it a difference from this COP?
It was very clear that the world has moved, and governments have responded with statements, such as those on forests and methane, that they combine political, economic and social interests. In other COPs, there was a dissociation between negotiations in the rooms and elections outside them. In Glasgow, the concerns of the private sector and civil society, which participated with force, are reflected in the diplomatic negotiations. Was Brazil halfway there, when approaching business, but not civil society?
The problem is that this government has made an alliance with the conservative private sector, the CNI [Confederação Nacional da Indústria] and the CNA [Confederação Nacional da Agricultura], not with Entrepreneurs for the Climate, with CEBDS [Conselho Empresarial Brasileiro para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável]. The competent private sector – not this extemporaneous one – he came here with an interest in the carbon market because he knows that this is the mechanism by which, in the Paris Agreement, he is part of the game.
The environmental issue does not exist without a market vision, everyone is co-responsible. But the government’s private bias here is not that of a businessman responsible for the country, in line with development and climate responsibility. It’s just a short-term view. People who have political dialogue come to operate only in the microcosm.
Not even the relationship with the market that this government is able to take advantage of. They come with the past and make Brazil disembark from the contemporary world.
Did it lose its relevance in the environmental discussion?
The official Brazil that came to this COP is a smaller Brazil, and by pushing civil society away, it forced it to talk to the world, not through activism, but prepared to speak in political language.
The real country was at the civil society stand, not just on the climate issue. Human rights, racism, the indigenous issue were debated under the award-winning photographs of the Amazon taken by Sebastião Salgado, not those from an image bank, purchased by private sector entities.
Entities such as Observatório do Clima, Concerto pela Amazônia and Instituto Clima e Sociedade know that a standing forest is Brazil standing up, not on its knees, agreeing with everything and not delivering anything.
Many people do not realize that a COP is not restricted to environmental issues; it is a space of development geopolitics strategy, of knowing how to develop with the climate variable on the compass, either due to climate uncertainty or the need to find new low-carbon economic models.
The governors occupied this space, made their agreements. The subnational is here to stay, while the Union gets smaller.
There is a modern, contemporary business community, looking for spaces, and very disappointed for not have a carbon market law. And a businessman “Jurassic Park”, financing this government “fossil fuels” [combustíveis fósseis].
The government presented the approval of carbon market rules as a Brazilian victory. Do you agree? Approval of the rules was important and Brazil made some changes that interested the industry, but when it comes to reducing emissions, Brazil’s great victory would be to end with deforestation. It is still necessary to understand in detail what the changes mean and why the government threw out the market law of regulated carbon that was in Congress. The problem is that the current Brazilian government is denial and, in the first years, it placed the Ministry of Environment in the line of destruction of environmental policies and foreign relations. The sign that was coming to the world was that Brazil had put into reverse gear. Environmental activists accuse Brazil of “greenwashing” [promessas que não se traduzem em menos emissões], but leaders praised the country’s position. What is the balance for the country’s image?
Brazil is important to the world because it is the Amazon that makes it possible to hold heating at a maximum of 1.5 ºC.
The Itamaraty, still timid, showed its capacity for negotiation and dialogue and managed to control the government’s damage to the country’s image.
This COP showed that Itamaraty is back. But the impact of statements by the president and the minister
The omission on record deforestation, released in the middle of the COP, shows an immediate contradiction with the efficiency of Brazilian diplomacy and suggests a “fake green” action.
It is a country that signs declarations, but it doesn’t deliver results. Recognizing mistakes is part of good policy. By pretending to ignore what is bad, the minister only sabotages the country’s credibility, strengthens the view that it is “fake green”. The anticipation of the end of deforestation for 2010 is not a positive sign?
The problem is that they presented a linear regression, as if it were interest on own house, 15% each year. That does not exist. It doesn’t have scientific credibility, it doesn’t have financial or economic credibility, it doesn’t have political credibility. with a huge bill from this COP. The US, China, Europe and corporations and funds, that is, the main buyers and investors, have made it very clear that they will not accept deforestation. And this is not resolved with bravado alone. But in this government, not even the basics, of taking care of the yard, were done. Deforestation has exploded. The environmental management was destroyed and the ministry became a “Ministry of Agriculture of the B”. The minister pointed out that the Brazilian plans were praised, for example, by Kerry.
There are people who are deluded when the international world welcomes them. Yes, diplomacy is polite, and it wants Brazil to re-align itself with global interests. Diplomacy is made up of gestures and greetings, and it has memory. You won’t forget what Brazil signed. It’s like a driver who’s going back to racing, but, for now, he’s not even on the grid; will start from the pits. Signed approval but believe? I doubt. They’re going to wait for another government to see if that stays up.