A South American country has the opportunity to lead important discussions and set standards for global climate action.
By Daniele Savietto
As COP28 nears, global attention shifts to Brazil, a nation poised as a potential bridge-builder between developed and developing countries. Holding the Mercosul presidency and beginning its G20 tenure on December 1, 2023 — aligning with the start of COP28 — Brazil is positioned to play a pivotal role in the climate negotiations.
The Brazilian government has set an ambitious target to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 53% by 2030. This commitment places Brazil in the spotlight, particularly in light of COP28 being dubbed “the Oil COP.
The spotlight is on Brazil’s approach to managing the influence of the oil industry, a significant presence at the conference and a potential impediment to an effective energy transition.
During a webinar organized by the Climate and Society Institute (iCS), Daniela Chiaretti, an environmental correspondent for Valor, underscored the critical nature of this COP, drawing parallels to the landmark Paris COP. In a similar vein, Cinthia Leone from ClimaInfo raised concerns regarding the oil industry’s role in the negotiations. She expressed skepticism about their involvement, suspecting it might lean more towards lobbying efforts rather than a sincere commitment to shifting towards renewable energy sources.
Further highlighting the industry’s stance, Daniela Chiaretti pointed out that despite the oil sector’s professed dedication to the energy transition, in reality, a mere 1% of renewable energy investments have been made by this sector to date.
Moreover, on November 21st, the Brazilian Senate conducted a thematic debate focusing on Brazil’s role in the upcoming Conference. Rafael Dubeux, from the Ministry of Finance, highlighted the extensive reach of climate change issues across various government departments.
State Deputy Célia Xakriabá announced the launch of the “Bench for the Planet” initiative, set to be introduced at COP28 on December 5th. This project aims to bring together parliamentarians from around the world to advocate for environmental rights.
In addition, Rafael Dubeux brought attention to the recent passage of Bill 412/2022, which institutes a regulated carbon market in Brazil. However, this bill, often presented as an environmental breakthrough, faces sharp criticism regarding its actual efficacy in reducing emissions as opposed to potentially creating a so-called “pollution market.” Lais Furtado’s insightful article “Movements Denounce the Impacts of the Carbon Market Approved by the Senate” delves into these criticisms, particularly underscoring the absence of public involvement and the risk of commodifying carbon emissions.
Confronted with these significant challenges, Brazil occupies a distinctive role in COP28. It stands at a crossroads where it can lead key discussions and influence the direction of global climate action policies.
However, the country also faces the intricate task of reconciling the demands of the oil industry with the pressing need for comprehensive and effective environmental strategies. The manner in which Brazil manages these multifaceted issues will not only carve out its role in COP28 but will also significantly impact its contribution to shaping a sustainable global environmental future.