Steve Schwartzman – EDF, 6/30/2015
Presidents Obama and Rousseff deserve credit for putting climate change at the top of their bilateral agenda today.
Public commitment to a strong Paris outcome from two major emitters that are already taking significant action on climate is more than welcome. Restoring 12 million hectares of degraded forest, as President Rousseff has pledged, is a positive contribution – albeit no more than Brazil’s current law mandates.
It is highly promising that the two major economies are creating a high-level working group to move the climate change agenda forward. Particularly interesting is the pledge to develop innovative public-private finance mechanisms both for clean energy and the forestry sector.
Justin Worland – TIME, 6/30/2015
The United States, China and Brazil all made new commitments to combat climate change Tuesday, in advance of a landmark United Nations conference on the issue in December.
The U.S. and Brazil pledged to increase production of electricity from renewable sources to represent 20% of electricity production by 2030. That’s three times as much renewable energy as the U.S. currently produces and twice as much as is produced in Brazil, according to the White House. Brazil also announced new measures to curb deforestation.
Brian Deese, senior climate change adviser at the White House, told reporters on a conference call that the joint announcement “substantially elevates and builds” on climate progress and “should provide momentum moving into our shared objective of getting an agreement in Paris later this year.”
Simon Romero – The New York Times, 1/6/2015
Calling Aldo Rebelo a climate-change skeptic would be putting it mildly. In his days as a fiery legislator in the Communist Party of Brazil, he railed against those who say human activity is warming the globe and called the international environmental movement “nothing less, in its geopolitical essence, than the bridgehead of imperialism.”
Though many Brazilians have grown used to such pronouncements from Mr. Rebelo, 58, his appointment this month as minister of science by President Dilma Rousseff is causing alarm among climate scientists and environmentalists here, a country that has been seeking to assert leadership in global climate talks.
“At first I thought this was some sort of mistake, that he was playing musical chairs and landed in the wrong chair,” said Márcio Santilli, a founder of Instituto Socioambiental, one of Brazil’s leading environmental groups. “Unfortunately, there he is, overseeing Brazilian science at a very delicate juncture when Brazil’s carbon emissions are on the rise again.”
Associated Press – ABC News, 09/23/2014
Despite its critical role in protecting the Amazon rainforest, Brazil will not endorse a global anti-deforestation initiative being announced at the U.N. climate summit, complaining it was left out of the consultation process. A U.N. official disputed that claim.
Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said Brazil was “not invited to be engaged in the preparation process” of the declaration. Instead, she said Brazil was given a copy of the text and asked to endorse it without being allowed to suggest any changes.
“Unfortunately, we were not consulted. But I think that it’s impossible to think that you can have a global forest initiative without Brazil on board. It doesn’t make sense,” Teixeira said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press.
Hannah Osborne – International Business Times, 09/23/2014
Brazil has refused to endorse a global anti-deforestation initiative put forward at the UN climate summit because it says it was left out of the consultation process.
According to an exclusive report by the Associated Press, environment minister Izabella Teixeira said her country was “not invited to be engaged in the preparation process” of the plan.
“Unfortunately, we were not consulted. But I think that it’s impossible to think that you can have a global forest initiative without Brazil on board. It doesn’t make sense,” she said. However, a UN official denied her claims, saying “there were efforts to reach out to the Brazilian government”. Charles McNeill, a senior environmental policy adviser with the UN, said: “There wasn’t a response [from Brazil].”
Agence France-Presse – The Guardian, 09/14/2014
Brazil is building a giant observation tower in the heart of the Amazon to monitor climate change and its impact on the region’s sensitive ecosystem, a newspaper has reported. The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory is a project of Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research and Germany’s Max Planck Institute, O Estado de São Paulo said.
The tower, which will rise 325 metres from the ground, will be equipped with high-tech instruments and an observatory to monitor relationships between the jungle and the atmosphere. It will gather data on heat, water, carbon gas, winds, cloud formation, carbon absorption and weather patterns.
The project has been seven years in the making, with a site finally being selected far from any human presence, about 100 miles from Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas, project coordinator Antonio Manzi told the newspaper.
Tim Radford – RTCC, 6/16/2014
Brazil might or might not win the World Cup, but it so far seems a clear winner in the race to reduce carbon emissions, having stopped 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere during the last decade.
A team of economists and scientists report in the US journal Science that Brazil has achieved this, since 2004, by simply not cutting down 86,000 square kilometres of rainforest. This is, in effect, a 70% decline in deforestation, and in 2013 alone such abstention amounted to a 1.5% drop in global carbon emissions.
It sounds like eccentric accounting – awarding credits for unauthorised destruction that didn’t happen – but it represents a change of course all the same.