How the U.S. Can Help Address Climate Issues in Brazil

To address climate issues and promote sustainability in countries like Brazil, the United States must act as a cooperative partner.

Air Date: August 4, 2021

Moderator: Cassia Carvalho, Executive Director, Brazil-U.S. Business Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Ernesto Torres Cantu, CEO, Citigroup Latin America, Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Marcelo Marangon, CCO, Citi Brazil

Featured Guests: John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, The White House, Bruno Funchal, Special Secretary of Finance, Brazil Ministry of Economy

So much of America’s climate change efforts are focused on what we can do in the United States to make positive changes. However, we must also support other countries in their climate and sustainability goals, such as Brazil.

There are many steps Brazil needs to take to achieve its goals and improve its business climate for environmentally sustainable investments. These steps include the standardization and implementation of sustainable management protocols and enhanced incentives for sustainable, inclusive growth.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Brazil-U.S. Business Council recently hosted a panel discussing how Brazil can address climate action, focusing on Brazil’s role in the overall health of our world, deforestation issues, and climate budget problems.

Brazil Must Protect Its Rainforests to Meet Climate Goals

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry discussed the importance of cooperation between the United States and Brazil on climate and sustainability development.

Kerry noted that Brazil has not operated in a way to meet its climate goals or put the necessary action items in its budget. Yet, Kerry remains hopeful about a successful partnership between the two nations, as Brazil has a valuable, impactful part to play in reversing negative climate trends, in large part due to its rainforests.

“It's a real challenge right now because Brazil has not yet raised its national determined contribution, and we’re unsure of exactly where they're going to go with respect to the budget,” said Kerry. “There's a net transition coalition gathering steam around the world. And I think Brazil ... because it possesses this asset — [the Amazon rain] forest — that happens to be the largest in the world and is often referred to as the lungs of the world, we have to work out an accommodation for the forbearance of developing there.”

The Deforestation of Brazil Is a Major Climate Issue

Kerry repeated the importance of ending deforestation in the Amazon. He pleaded that Brazil needs to address this issue, as reducing or reversing it could have a major positive impact on the world reaching its climate goals.

“If you lose a certain critical mass, you actually lose the cycle of the rainforest and it compounds the problem even more,” said Kerry. “There is some evidence that now the Amazon is giving off more carbon dioxide than it is consuming already, which is dangerous. So what can the government do to make the difference? They can enforce, they can be serious about their goal or they can not be. If any person within the government is complicit with people who are behaving badly, you have a serious problem and there is some evidence that that has taken place in Brazil.”

Brazil Operates With a Limited Climate Budget

As Kerry mentioned, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has not put forward the money he committed to Brazil's climate budget. And over the past year, the COVID-19 crisis has provided an additional challenge for Brazil’s spending. Now the nation looks to address its climate issues with a limited budget and private investments.

“It's a very difficult fiscal situation that we have in Brazil. And we have problems [with] any investments, not only sustainable investments,” said Bruno Funchal, special secretary of finance, Ministry of Economy in Brazil. “We have a very rigid budget and we have a small space to invest, but our goal is to give conditions to the private sector … to incentivize sustainable investments.”

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