Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Concerns are growing amongst greens, that climate and CO2 emissions reduction is taking a back seat in Brazil, because of a severe economic slowdown, and massive political corruption scandals which are currently rocking the country.
Political storm clouds outlook for Brazil’s climate change plan
BRASÍLIA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As at least 130 countries prepare to sign the Paris climate agreement in New York later this month, environmental experts have warned that enthusiasm for climate change action may be waning in Brazil.
The political and economic crises now rocking the Latin American heavyweight could undermine the key role played by Brazil in shaping the new international deal to curb global warming, they say.
“It is very clear that the federal government is struggling for its political survival. As a consequence, the climate change agenda is frozen,” said Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, a Brasília-based coalition of 35 non-governmental groups.
Meanwhile, Brazilians are grappling with a major corruption scandal over a kickback scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras, and hard times after a decade of prosperity. The economy suffered its worst slump for a quarter of a century last year and unemployment is rising.
Brazilian diplomats are expected to attend the U.N. signing ceremony for the Paris climate deal on April 22. But there are growing concerns the country’s woes could thwart efforts to meet the pledges made in its contribution to the global agreement reached in December.
Brazil is among the 188 countries that have submitted climate action plans as part of an international effort to limit global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
But Brazil’s contribution will only become law when Congress ratifies the Paris Agreement.
With discussion among parliamentarians focused on the president’s impeachment, it is highly likely the Paris deal ratification will take longer than it should, Rittl said.
Green posturing is a costly, largely self limiting political luxury. The moment real issues arise, such as serious economic problems, domestic political crisis, or both, politicians stop playing and focus their attention on important matters.