In his last days of mandate, the American ambassador to Brazil, Todd Chapman, defended this Thursday (22) that the Brazilian government presents in the coming months – before the world climate meeting – a detailed plan on how the country intends to meet the environmental commitments recently made by President Jair Bolsonaro (non-party).
“It’s time [do Brasil] not to be the bad guy and to be the hero [da agenda ambiental]. Now is the time, “he said.
At the climate summit led by US President Joe Biden, Bolsonaro pledged to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and end illegal deforestation by 2030.
“These commitments are important, now we have to see how to do it. I think this is the new opportunity for the government to show the plan of how it is going to achieve it. The government [brasileiro] show you exactly how you’re going to do it. Other countries will support and help, ”Chapman said, speaking to reporters at the official embassy residence in Brasilia.
In Brazil since April 2020, Chapman announced his retirement on June 10, leaving room for Biden to define the new head of mission in Brasilia. He leaves the country for the weekend.
Chapman also said the best thing would be for Brazil to launch this environmental plan ahead of COP-26 (United Nations Climate Change Conference), scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland.
“Present before! Arrive [na COP-26] with that announced, to all to applaud. This is the way. And also negotiate article 6 [do Acordo de Paris], which will enable the international carbon market. Who will be the biggest beneficiary in the world? The one with the most carbon credits to sell: Brazil. So it is in the national interest. That’s why I think Brazil has a great opportunity in the field of the environment. “
“At COP-26, I would like the big star of the film to be Brazil, doing whatever it takes to really address this illegal deforestation problem. That would be my advice to the government, not just the federal government. state governments as well, ”he added.
Since the start of the Bolsonaro government, Brazil has faced strong international pressure in the area of the environment.
The country has been criticized for Bolsonaro’s anti-conservation rhetoric and his strong deregulation policy in the region. The government is also the target of complaints from the international community for attacks on indigenous leaders and, above all, for increasing deforestation in the Amazon.
Until January 2021, the accusations came mainly from Europe, with former US President Donald Trump having pursued a deregulation policy similar to that of Bolsonaro.
The situation changed with the coming to power of Biden. The US government has joined the Europeans in efforts to put pressure on Brazil.
On Thursday, Chapman acknowledged that the environment was the theme on which there had been the greatest change in America’s stance in the transition from Trump’s governments to Biden.
“It was pretty clear to me to make this transition [nos EUA], that it was necessary to increase the importance of the environment in my conversations with the government [do Brasil]», Declared the American diplomat.
He also says that the most sensitive issue remains illegal deforestation in the Amazon and that Brazil must seek “quick fixes” to the problem.
Without naming names, the diplomat also sent a message against arguments frequently used by authorities in the Bolsonaro government, which tend to counter criticism from abroad by comparing Brazil’s preservation rates with those of developed countries and Brazil’s energy matrix – one of the cleanest in the country. world.
“You can be right in all your arguments, win battle after battle and lose the war. ‘Oh, but we have already preserved more of the Amazon than you did on the east coast of the United States.’ It’s true, but not this one it’s an argument [agora]. “Ah, but we have the most hydropower plants in the world.” True, but that’s not a topic at the moment. You can proudly announce all of this, if you don’t deforest the Amazon. Once this problem is solved, it will open doors for you, ”he says.
Although Bolsonaro has lowered the tone of his anti-environmental rhetoric and commitments made at the climate summit, the president’s promises are met with skepticism amid rising rates of deforestation.
In June, deforestation alerts in the Amazon returned to record levels for the fourth consecutive month, according to data from Inpe (National Institute for Space Research).
Deforestation for the month reached 1,061.88 km², an increase of 2.7% over the same period in 2020, and the highest value recorded in recent Deter program history, from 2016. second consecutive month with deforestation values. above a thousand square kilometers.
Since March, the program’s monthly alerts have been breaking records, again compared to the same month in previous years, since 2016. Considering only this short period of months, 3,401 km² of Amazonia have been cut down. Deforestation throughout 2012, for example, was 4,571 km².
The months of July, August and September, which are part of the dry period, are generally critical for the Amazon as they concentrate intense deforestation and burning activities.