U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that Brazil has made “ambitious” commitments to fight climate change. The US and Brazil met for the first time on Thursday, and Biden called the meeting a “good start.” The two leaders agreed to work toward reaching 70 percent of installed clean energy capacity in the region by 2022. The two countries’ climate targets are linked to the pace at which they deforest the Amazon.
The US is seeking Brazil to do more to address climate change, and the government is considering a meeting with President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, the country’s president-elect. Brazil has one of the least carbon-intensive economies in the world, and its renewable energy target is already at or near the desired level. But the meeting may be awkward, given Bolsonaro’s history as a close ally of Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump. And he has recently backed Trump’s allegations of irregularities in the US 2020 election.
In the last year alone, the country has risen its emissions, including deforestation, while the other major contributor to GHG emissions is agriculture. The deforestation rates in Brazil have increased by more than half since Bolsonaro took office. Brazil is the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, largely driven by illegal logging and clearing and burning of forestland for fields. While other countries saw rapid drops in carbon emissions during the Covid-19 pandemic, Brazil saw an increase in emissions.
Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that the meeting would be centered around climate policy. Biden’s climate adviser has pledged to work with leaders of all ideologies, but he refused to invite leftist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to the summit. Sullivan also warned that “the meeting will have a major impact on the U.S.-Brazil relationship.”
The US has made clear that it expects its partners to increase the use of renewable energy sources in their economies. In addition to that, the country has announced a moratorium on seabed mining, a moratorium on whale hunting, and an agreement to protect marine turtles along its coastline. Though Senegal is small and relatively far away from the ocean, it cannot deny that the oceans are vital for human survival.
The US urges Brazil to meet’very’ ambitious climate goals. These goals would require a significant amount of investment in infrastructure, technology, and capacity-building. At the same time, the country would need to reduce the use of single-use plastics and reduce the number of monofilament fishing nets. The goals are so bold that it might even surprise the world!