Thu, Nov 29, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Brazil reneges on hosting UN climate talks next year

The Guardian

An illegally deforested area on Pirititi Aboriginal lands is pictured in Roraima State, Brazil, on May 8.

Photo: Ibama via AP

Brazil has abandoned plans to host crucial UN climate talks next year amid growing signs of the anti-internationalism of the new government being formed by Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro.

The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the reversal in a message to Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Climate Change, the O Globo newspaper reported.

Two months after winning the bid to host next year’s COP25 conference, the note said that Brazil would withdraw its offer to stage the event due to the transition in government and budget restrictions, the paper said.

The decision is a blow to global efforts to prevent dangerous levels of global warming.

Brazil, which is home to the world’s biggest rainforest, the Amazon, has been an important player in international climate talks. Its sudden weakening of support comes just days before the opening of this year’s climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

The non-governmental organization Climate Observatory said Brazil had abdicated its role in one of the areas where it was most needed by the world and its own people.

“By ignoring the climate agenda, the federal government also fails to protect the population, hit by a growing number of extreme weather events. These, unfortunately, do not cease to occur just because some doubt their causes,” the group said in a statement. “It is not the first and certainly will not be the last bad news of Jair Bolsonaro for that area.”

The broken promise is in line with the anti-globalist rhetoric of the far-right former army captain, who was elected president last month and is to take power in January.

He threatened to quit the Paris climate agreement, then subsequently backtracked, but has made no secret of his desire to open up the Amazon to mining, farming and dam building.

He has also aligned himself closely with US President Donald Trump.

Earlier this month, he choose a new foreign minister who claims “climate alarmism” is part of a cultural Marxist plot, and who said the UN has no language for “love, faith and patriotism.”

The shift has been abrupt. Just two months ago — shortly before the election — the ministry said Brazil’s offer to host the COP25 talks “confirms the country’s leadership role in sustainable development issues” and “reflects the consensus of Brazilian society on the importance and the urgency of actions that contribute to the fight against climate change,” the newspaper said.

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