Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
South America
Global Issues
Megan Darby, Climate Home

Brazil has demoted climate diplomacy as part of a foreign ministry shake-up, in Jair Bolsonaro’s first two weeks as president.

The world “climate” has been erased from the organisational chart. The role of deputy secretary for environmental matters has been axed and its portfolio subsumed by the secretariat for “national sovereignty and citizenship affairs”. Staff previously responsible for UN climate negotiations are still there, a source told Climate Home News, but “climate change” is no longer part of the description of their department’s functions. Instead it refers to “protection of the atmosphere”. The move reflects foreign minister Ernesto Araújo’s scepticism toward climate change science and the international response, which he has painted as a left-wing plot. A ministerial spokesperson did not respond to questions. In a note explaining the restructure, the ministry said it would achieve “greater administrative efficiency and resource savings”. Araújo is set to accompany Bolsonaro to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week, in the first test of the administration’s approach to foreign affairs. In recent years, the summit of political and business leaders has flagged climate change as one of the biggest threats to global prosperity. UN chief Antonio Guterres is expected to attend and hammer home that message. NGO network Climate Observatory called Araújo’s restructure “unpatriotic”, saying it diminished Brazil’s soft power and green investment opportunities.

Uncertainty lingers over Brazil’s participation in climate efforts. During the election campaign, Bolsonaro threatened to pull out of the Paris Agreement, but softened his stance after an international outcry. Environment minister Ricardo Salles on Tuesday told national media there was opposition to the Paris deal in government but “for now” Brazil would stay in. “There are important points in the agreement that we want to value, such as those that can bring financial resources to the country,” he said after an event in Sao Paulo, as reported by Agência Brasil. But this should not prevent Brasilia from pursuing its economic agenda, Salles added, outlining plans to open up national parks to private industry. Salles insisted in an interview with Bloomberg last week that on climate change, “Brazil is not a debtor. We’re creditors.”

That is only half true, according to Climate Observatory. The country did much to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation between 2005 and 2012, but since then rates of tree clearance have been creeping up. “It’s not enough for countries to content themselves with looking in the rear-view mirror,” said environmentalist Claudio Angelo. “All countries have to improve their contributions.” Brazil has taken millions of dollars of international support, mostly from Norway, to reduce deforestation. Payments through the Amazon Fund are based on results, though – and donors have expressed concern over backsliding.

 

[This article originally appeared on climatechangenews.com.]

Source:
CLIMATE HOME

Climate Diplomacy
North America
Dennis Tänzler (adelphi)

The United States is at a critical juncture in its future climate policy directions. Biden’s electoral victory and the appointment of former Secretary of State John Kerry as special envoy present opportunities, yet America remains deeply divided. By engaging in transatlantic climate cooperation not only with allies, but also sceptical parts of society, Europe can help drive the climate conversation forward.

Adriana Erthal Abdenur (Plataforma CIPÓ), Claide de Paula Moraes (Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará), Eduardo Kazuo Tamanaha (Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Mamirauá), Fernando Ozorio de Almeida (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro), and Bruno Pastre Maximo (Universidade Federal do Amazonas)

Raging fires, expanding mineral extraction and land clearing for agribusiness are not only destroying Amazonian lands and biodiversity, they are also eradicating fundamental knowledge on land stewardship. Climate diplomacy has a key role to play in protecting archaeological sites that preserve lessons from the past that could help the Amazon recover in the future.

Climate Diplomacy
Global Issues
12 December, 2020

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The climate diplomacy podcast gives insights to current topics in international climate diplomacy. Our hosts interviews authors of recent publications or experts on their take of what needs to be done to promote climate foreign policy.

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Middle East & North Africa
Raquel Munayer, adelphi

Water is a critical resource everywhere, but in the Middle East, it is a defining issue. Changing demographics, poor management and climate change are pummelling the region’s already alarming water security situation. EcoPeace Middle East’s brand new report ‘A Green Blue Deal for the Middle East’ taps into water as a make-or-break issue for regional cooperation, economic development, and even for the future of peace negotiations.