In a hearing with the US Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee, Joe Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday (12) that if he does not discuss the preservation of the Amazon with the government of Jair Bolsonaro (without party)), “the forest will disappear”.
“We are ready to talk to them, not with eye patches, but knowing where we are,” said the former US secretary of state, who described the talks, which began weeks ago, positive, he said. “We hope that the intention can be translated into effective and verifiable actions.”
Kerry acknowledged that Brazil had reduced levels of deforestation between 2004 and 2012 and said the country was “making progress”. But he pointed out that environmental protections were reversed under what he called the “Bolsonaro regime” – using a term normally applied, for example, to the Nicolás Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela.
Regarding the state of progress of negotiations with the Brazilian government, the former secretary declared that the American objective is to be able to set up a new structure for the inspection of forest actions in which everyone “has confidence” . “We had this conversation. They say they are determined to increase the budget and put a new structure in place.”
After pledging more funds for monitoring at the Climate Leaders’ Summit convened by Biden in April, Bolsonaro formalized a reduction in resources for the area linked to climate change, fighting wildfires and promoting climate change. environmental conservation projects.
The day before the speech at the virtual meeting, the Brazilian president said he had determined the duplication of resources for environmental inspection actions in Brazil. According to Bolsonaro’s interlocutors, it was estimated that the increase in resources for environmental inspection would be around 115 million reais.
The 2021 budget sanctioned by him, however, does not include the promised increase and still cuts nearly 240 million reais from the environment portfolio.
Two weeks ago, the US government asked Brazil about the reduction in resources.
In a meeting with Ministers Ricardo Salles (Environment) and Carlos França (Foreign Affairs) on the 30th, Kerry expressed concern over the news of the budget cut promoted by the Brazilian leader and wanted to know what is happening. ‘had passed.
According to reports made to Folha, the Brazilians argued that the Treasury was inevitable because the summit took place on the eve of the 2021 budget sanction and there was no time to avoid it. . Salles and France, however, argued that a budget replenishment by the Ministry of the Environment is expected to take place soon.
In the US Congress, Biden’s envoy raised concerns over scientific research that the Amazon is already releasing more carbon than it consumes and that there is a risk that it will no longer be a forest. tropical. “We have to resolve this.”
Asked by Congresswoman Susan Wild, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, whether the United States negotiates directly with Indigenous Brazilians, in addition to the government, Kerry said there had not yet been direct meetings, but that their representatives were consulted by the Americans.
“Their concerns are paramount. They have a lot of voices and need to be heard,” he said.