The Joe Biden government publicly acknowledged for the first time this Friday (17) the importance of President Jair Bolsonaro’s commitment to end illegal deforestation by 2030 in Brazil, but called for “immediate actions” and an “engagement with indigenous peoples and civil society” so that the promise can generate results that Americans call tangible.
The spokesperson for the message was Biden Special Climate Envoy John Kerry, who wrote on his Twitter a message highlighting Bolsonaro.
“President Jair Bolsonaro’s new commitment to eliminate illegal deforestation is important. We expect immediate action and engagement with indigenous peoples and civil society so that his announcement can deliver tangible results.”
In a letter sent to Biden on Wednesday (14), Bolsonaro pledged to end illegal deforestation in Brazilian territory by 2030 and said the goal “will require substantial resources and comprehensive public policies.”
So far, members of the US State Department and White House officials have commented on the content of the text only behind the scenes, celebrating the promise, but under pressure from this year’s results and concrete action. who would show the way to reach the goal.
Reducing deforestation to zero by 2030 was a commitment Brazil made in 2015, as part of the Paris Agreement, but it was the first time that Bolsonaro had committed to that number, in a pledge. considered high diplomatic level, made directly to Biden.
Bolsonaro is one of 40 leaders invited by the US president to attend the climate summit hosted by Washington on April 22 and 23. The Brazilian president is expected to speak during the opening session, alongside the United States and China, dedicated to countries that are large emitters or have important environmental references.
According to aides, the Brazilian president must reiterate the promises he made in the letter to Biden, even emphasizing his willingness to work with the third sector and the natives, as Kerry demanded on Friday.
“We want to hear from third sector entities, indigenous peoples, traditional communities and all those who are ready to contribute to a constructive debate and truly committed to solving the problems,” Bolsonaro wrote in the letter sent to the White House.
Bolsonaro’s environmental policy is seen as negligent by conservationists and collects records of deforestation, burning and disposal from inspection agencies. During his first two years in office, the Brazilian president accused foreign officials of questioning Brazilian sovereignty over the Amazon, attacked NGOs and criticized indigenous leaders.
The letter was therefore seen by US officials as a change of tone, but the resulting pressure must be seen beyond the promises.
On the same day as Kerry’s statement, Democratic senators sent a letter to Biden asking the White House to release funds in Brazil to help preserve the Amazon only if the Bolsonaro government is seriously committed to reducing the deforestation and punish environmental crimes.
As Folha has shown, Bolsonaro is weighing the announcement at next week’s summit of increased funding for the Environment Ministry, primarily for agencies like Ibama and ICMBio, in an attempt to do so. signal of concrete actions demanded by the United States.
Funding for the preservation of the Amazon has become one of the main points of tension in the negotiations between the United States and Brazil for the climate summit.
Since the end of last month, the White House and the State Department have called for an ambitious and real plan on climate change from Brazil, but have conditioned any kind of financial assistance on concrete results.
Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, in turn, insists that Brazil will only commit to the numbers if it receives money in advance from foreign countries, which displeases the Americans.
The minister even asked for $ 1 billion by 2021 during a meeting with US officials to help preserve the Amazon and, as Folha revealed, showed the image of a dog wagging its tail. in front of roast chickens to illustrate what he called “the wait for payment”.
Salles believes that Brazil must also receive resources to offset the conservations already made, such as the reduction of 7.8 billion tonnes of carbon from 2006 to 2017.
In the letter to Biden, Bolsonaro writes that achieving the goal of reducing illegal deforestation by 2030 “will require substantial resources and comprehensive public policies,” but the Brazilian president’s aides say they know this help will come “when we engage”.