COP 27

Attentive eyes and ears to Brazil

The world's largest climate conference welcomes Lula and the governors of the Amazon states in the coming days. The expectation is that Brazil will be at the center of the main discussions, attracting investments, reestablishing and building partnerships for the coming years.

Alice Martins

Translated by Silvia Benchimol and Ewerton Branco (UFPA/ET-Multi)


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This is Lula's first international trip after the election results - Photo: Ricardo Stuckert

In the coming days, the eyes of the world will be on Brazil, especially turned towards the Amazon. Governors of the Interstate Consortium for Sustainable Development of the Legal Amazon will arrive in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, this week, to attend the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 27), accompanied by the president-elect of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. This is Lula's first international trip after the election results and his participation has been awaited by leaders from all over the world.

This is also the first time that the Consortium will have an independent stand from that of the official delegation of the federal government during the conference, which is the world's largest forum for climate discussion. For the Amazon, the meeting should represent an opportunity to establish partnerships and raise investments to strengthen the preservation of the environment.

The Consortium along with Ministry of the Environment pavilion and the Brazil Climate Action Hub will constitute the three front lines representing the country at COP 27, the latter composed of a group of environmentalists, scientists and quilombolas, among other representatives, who form a delegation since 2019 to bring its main concerns to the conference independently from the federal government agenda.

In an interview with O Liberal, the governor of Pará, Helder Barbalho, declared that he hopes to sign agreements likely to generate R$55 million in investments for the state. “They are partnerships with public and private institutions that consider Pará a propitious and safe environment for investments concerned with social advances with the forest standing. These resources will also allow for the strengthening of environmental services and regularization. This is only possible because we can show work and achievements, such as increasingly comprehensive monitoring and the reduction of deforestation in state areas," said Barbalho.

Pará State Government already announced the increase of R$ 20 million, through the Oriental Amazon Fund, presented at COP 27. 

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Ivan Silva, vice-general coordinator of the Laboratory for Geopolitical Studies of the Amazon LEGAL, advocates that one of the points that should be highlighted by the Consortium at COP 27, with Lula's support, is the expansion of international funding for the preservation of the biome, as the Amazon Fund. “COP 27 will be an important window of opportunity to sign more agreements for investment funds aimed at the region”, he declares.

Silva also stressed that the conference will be a “good moment for Helder Barbalho to reinforce his position at the international level”. Next year, ends the mandate of Antônio Waldez Goés, current governor of Amapá and president of the Consortium, who will define a new administration of the group.

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Carbon credit - Even before getting to Egypt, Barbalho already announced a commitment to be signed by Pará at the conference: to make the state the first in Brazil to regulate the reimbursement of carbon credits. The concept was created during the Kyoto Protocol, in 1997, and establishes that  for each reduced ton in the emission of greenhouse gases a market credit is generated that can be sold to countries and companies that have not reached goals.

Waldez, who will also be present and  COP 27, clarified in a press interview, that the Consortium's participation “in a specific hub does not mean that we are going to separate ourselves from the country of which we are a part. But it would be impossible to present the nine Amazonian state governments, exposing their vision of sustainable development and a low-emissions economy, with a commitment to curb deforestation, within the central government's stand”.

Brazil comes on the conference scene for a leading role

Marina Silva should lead important negotiations on behalf of Brazil - Photo: Dario Oliveira/ Ag. Estado

“First of all, Brazil is retaking its international role in debates on the environment”, points out Ivan Silva, vice-general coordinator of LEGAL. In his opinion, there is an expectation from the other countries for the ‘Tupiniquim leadership’ to conduct some issues again and take a more effective position when signing agreements. Brazil has maintained a timid participation in the last four years in this regard, without the incumbent president, Jair Bolsonaro, having attended any of the COP editions in this period.

Since his campaign, the president-elect has been emphasizing his intention to pay greater attention to the preservation of the Amazon. His participation in COP 27, together with state representatives from the region, should address the sustainable development of the forest and the fight against deforestation and fires in the biome.

During COP 27 event, the Amazon has been on the agenda since the first day, November 6, when North American environmentalist Al Gore, former vice president of the United States, mentioned the region in his opening speech at the summit of world leaders present at the conference. “We need more (climate action), but we have the basis for hope. Just a few days ago the people of Brazil chose to stop the destruction of the Amazon,” he said. Gore cited the Amazon as an example of “hope” in combating climate change in the world.

Another highlighted aspect, according to Silva, is the presence of environmentalist Marina Silva, who will arrive in Egypt earlier than Lula. "She will be accompanied by her team and she is an uncontested leader concerning international issues. There is expectation that she will lead important negotiations on behalf of Brazil and that during COP 27, perhaps Lula will announce the next name for the Ministry of the Environment", he emphasizes.

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Brazilian Official stand at COP 27 - Photo:Ruben Naftali/ Duvulgação Secom

Official stand focuses on promoting clean energy

The incumbent president, Jair Bolsonaro, has not confirmed participation in COP 27, but his government is being represented by a delegation from the Ministry of the Environment (MMA), present at the conference. According to the MMA, the delegation's objectives at the event are “to promote a meeting of international leaders, aiming to implement the global carbon market; seek climate financing for mitigation and adaptation, especially to encourage the production of clean energy (biomass, wind and solar) and green hydrogen”, in addition to seeking investments for some government programs.

Brazilian pavilion will also have the participation of other institutions, such as National Confederation of Industry (CNI), National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), Brazilian Support Service for Micro and Small Business (Sebrae) and Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex).

Ministers represented the country in the last years

During his term, President Jair Bolsonaro did not participate in person in any of the COP events. He has always sent the Ministers of the Environment as government official representatives. In 2021, in the 26th edition, the then Minister Joaquim Álvaro presented a new goal of 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and the neutralization of carbon emissions by 2050.
In the previous year, 2020, there was no conference due to the covid pandemic. In 2019, Brazil had the opportunity to host the conference, but the government declined and the conference was held in Madrid, Spain. The minister of the environment that year, Ricardo Salles, headed the Brazilian delegation instead of the president.

Paris Agreement goals under analysis

A few days before the start of COP 27, the Climate Observatory announced that Brazilian emissions in 2021 had the highest increase in 19 years. Reducing these emissions around the world should be one of the challenges reinforced during the conference, tracking how countries have accomplished the Paris Agreement.

Created at the 2015 COP, the agreement was one of the most important commitments in the history of the conferences and required all countries to guarantee that they acted in order to maintain the increase in the global average temperature below 2°C (compared to the temperature that there was before the pre-industrial era, before 1750) and control the global warming to 1.5 °C by the end of the 21st century. At COP 27, the expected objective is for governments to present climate actions in practice, with the implementation of effective actions in line with the Paris Agreement.

War impacts and compensation for poorer countries also on the agenda

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The first edition of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change was in 1995, in Germany, since then, it promotes an annual meeting aiming to bring together countries and to make commitments that can change the direction of global public policies. This year, the expectation is that, in addition to the agenda on the Amazon, for example, the effects of the war between Ukraine and Russia, which started in February this year, on issues such as energy security and global food security, will be at the center of discussions.

"Discussions have been underway since the first week and Lula's arrival fosters the expectation that Brazil will officially join the conversation", says Ivan Silva. According to the political scientist, one of the axes that has been emerging, even by the Egyptian delegation, is a demand from the poorest countries that the richest nations should provide financial compensation to pay for climate emergency actions. "The eyes are also focused on how Brazil will position and lead this debate".

Brazil will also be represented by scientific institutions, such as Institute of Man and the Environment of the Amazon (Imazon) and Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), as well as non-profit organizations such as the Forest and Agricultural Management and Certification Institute (Imaflora) and Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB).