Reversal comes two months after country agreed to host COP25 conference in 2019 – and one month after far-right climate sceptic won election
— Brazil has abandoned plans to host crucial UN climate talks in 2019 amid growing signs of the anti-internationalism of the new government being formed by president-elect Jair Bolsonaro.
The foreign ministry announced the reversal in a message to Patrícia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Climate Change, according to the O Globo news website.
Two months after winning the bid to host the COP25 conference in 2019, the note said 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 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 Climate Observatory NGO 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 in October and will 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 to 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 United Nations has no language for “love, faith and patriotism”.
The shift has been abrupt. Just two months ago – shortly before the election – the foreign 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”, according to the O Globo news website.
by Jonathan Watts | The Guardian