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Brazil’s government faces challenging mission at upcoming Climate Summit

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On April 22nd and 23rd, Brazil will take part in a virtual meeting to discuss global warming. Guided by environment minister Ricardo Salles, Bolsonaro sent a seven-page letter to U.S. President Joe Biden advising his preservation plans for the Amazon, which range from land title regularization to carbon credit sales.

“Contrary to what the heralds of the Apocalypse said, that the government was not going to engage with the Biden government, that ‘now it’s over’; under no circumstances. We are having an excellent dialogue,” Salles said. The minister wants U$1 billion in aid from the Americans in order to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 40% in 12 months.

President Jair Bolsonaro. (Photo internet reproduction)

The proposal has not yet been detailed, but is met with resistance from American politicians. On Friday, April 16th, a group of 15 (out of 100) U.S. senators signed a letter to Biden in which they claim that the Bolsonaro administration has “publicly snubbed Brazil’s main environmental agency and sabotaged its ability to enforce the country’s environmental laws.”

For these senators, the Brazilian government “has so far shown no serious interest in working with the multiple actors within Brazil that would play essential roles in any serious effort to save the Amazon rainforest.”

Under Donald Trump, the United States maintained support for the policies of Bolsonaro, who endorsed the Republican’s bid for re-election, insisted on the rhetoric that the American election was rigged, and became the last president to congratulate Biden on his victory.

Until then, the environmental issue had not opposed the two countries. In August 2019, at the height of Bolsonaro’s first wildfire crisis, Trump said that Bolsonaro was “working hard on the fires in the Amazon.”

“While there was a dispute in the United States, various leaders aligned themselves with candidates who had more to do with their worldview. After the election, it’s something else,” Salles said.

For the Biden administration, the issue surrounding the Amazon goes beyond the 2020 campaign. The environmental agenda is one of the White House’s priorities. Responsible for the area, John Kerry, former Secretary of State in the Barack Obama administration, was one of the drafters of the Paris Agreement, signed by 195 countries in 2015 with a goal to prevent the world’s increase in average temperature. During the 2018 campaign, Bolsonaro said he might pull Brazil from the international pact, just as Trump did.

As Salles rushes to formulate an environmental policy that pleases the U.S., the American Treasury Department is discussing options to finance the preservation of the Amazon rainforest with interested countries.

Some 60% of the forest is in Brazil and the other 40% in neighboring countries. The U.S. government has insisted that despite Brazil’s measures to halt the destruction of the forest, deforestation levels remain high and the government may need to seek alternative solutions involving local communities, indigenous people, NGOs, and the private sector to reduce and zero illegal deforestation by 2030 by showing results this year.

Source: Veja

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