The US government questioned Brazil on reducing resources for the environment, endorsed by President Jair Bolsonaro the day after his speech at the Leaders’ Climate Summit, hosted by Joe Biden at the end of April.
In a meeting with ministers Ricardo Salles (Environment) and Carlos França (Foreign Affairs) on Friday (30), Biden’s special climate envoy John Kerry expressed concern over the news of the reduction funds promoted by the Brazilian leader and wanted to know what had happened.
According to reports, the Brazilians argued that the cash flow was inevitable because the summit took place on the eve of the 2021 budget sanction, amid a dispute with Congress. So, they told the American, there was no time to avoid it. Salles and France, however, argued that a budget replenishment by the Environment Ministry is expected to take place soon.
In his Biden-promoted summit speech, Bolsonaro pledged more money for environmental inspection, which Americans initially liked. But, the next day, the Brazilian president slashed the area’s resources linked to climate change, forest fire control and the promotion of environmental conservation projects worth nearly R $ 240 million.
The recovery of resources from the Ministry of the Environment will depend on cuts in other areas, as the budget forecasts are at the limit of the expenditure ceiling, a rule that prevents spending growth above inflation.
This was the second meeting between Kerry and Brazilian environment ministers. In the first, Itamaraty was still represented by former Chancellor Ernesto Araújo, who resigned at the end of March after heavy pressure from Congress.
Usually, the topics covered in these videoconferences are broad, with lower costs and direct negotiations. The conversations generally pave the way for meetings of technical teams from both governments, which have taken place more frequently and recently have begun to discuss possible US funding models for preservation projects in Brazil, still based on the counterpart.
At the meeting, again according to interlocutors, Kerry signaled that it would be possible to move forward with systems mainly involving the US private sector.
Since negotiations began in February, the United States has said it will only send resources to Brazil if there are positive environmental results in the country later this year.
The shortest goal to date was presented by Vice President Hamilton Mourão (PRTB), who heads the Amazon Council. He said the goal was to reduce deforestation by at least 15% this year, compared to data from the previous period. Among the funding models explored so far are pilot projects that could involve partnerships with the U.S. Ranger, for example, as well as the private sector contributions highlighted by Kerry.
To Brazilian ministers, Biden’s self-styled climate czar said the US president was “quite happy” with Bolsonaro’s speech at the summit, especially his 10-year anticipation on the target of reducing pollutant emissions , from 2060 to 2050.
The American also explained how the United States, now the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China, will do to achieve the new objectives announced by Biden: to halve the country’s emissions by 2030.
Publicly, Kerry announced Friday the meeting with Salles and France on their social networks, saying that the meeting served to address Brazil’s “important new goals” in the climate field. “We look forward to continuing to work together to put our world on the path to a safer, more prosperous and more sustainable future,” he wrote.
Itamaraty also commented on the video conference and said on Twitter that Brazil and the United States “will continue to work together to promote environmental protection and sustainable development”.
At the summit last week, President Jair Bolsonaro gave a speech that has caused, at the very least, some strangeness to anyone observing environmental policy considered negligent by his government.
The Brazilian president said he had determined the duplication of resources for environmental inspection actions in Brazil, pledged to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 – ten years ahead of the previously set target – and reiterated its pledge to end illegal deforestation by 2030.