Brazilian companies rely on government to change climate position | Business and finance

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) – Powerful companies are urging Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to drop the country’s long-standing resistance on key issues in this year’s UN climate talks, arguing that Brazil cannot not allow himself to pass up the opportunity to use its vast natural wealth in the fight against global warming.

The Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development, which claims to represent the companies behind nearly half of the Latin American nation’s economy, has called on the government to crack down on illegal deforestation and relax its hardline stance in carbon markets.

These requests seemed to be bearing fruit.

Last week, Brazil surprised observers by joining an international pledge to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. And a speech by Brazil’s environment minister on Wednesday is expected to see the country expound new position in carbon markets that could help break the long-standing deadlock on the issue.

“We have positive signs from the government,” said Marina Grossi, president of the group of companies known by its Portuguese acronym CEBDS and comprising mining giants Anglo American and Vale, and oil companies Petrobras and Shell.

Grossi said Brazil’s private sector believes the country can meet its goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 – a recently brought forward date of 2060 – by protecting the huge carbon-absorbing Amazon.

“It’s a great opportunity,” she told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday. “Our big elephant in the room is illegal deforestation.”

The Brazilian government has paid little attention to similar demands from environmental groups. But Grossi said big business might be in a better position to defeat Bolsonaro’s right-wing government, which faces an election next year.

“The private sector said it’s good for business, it’s not ideological,” she said.

In addition to being able to step up its emissions reduction efforts by saving the Amazon, Brazil could benefit greatly if the countries participating in this year’s UN climate talks reach an agreement on the issue of carbon markets. Known as ‘Article 6’, efforts to resolve the issue have eluded negotiators for years, but officials are optimistic the possibility of a breakthrough in Glasgow.

Brazil would likely have to compromise on its demands to keep questionable carbon credits it racked up under a previous deal. But an agreement that sets tough rules for carbon markets could make Brazil a destination of choice in the future for countries and companies hoping to offset their own excess emissions.

There are signs that the Brazilian government will drop its claims on old carbon credits. A minister and an assistant from the Department of the Environment involved in the negotiations in Glasgow told the PA the decision to do so has already been taken. Brazil would likely seek to take advantage of the reversal of its position to reap benefits, they said. The two spoke on condition of anonymity as the talks are private and ongoing.

Speaking at a panel discussion, Brazilian Environment Minister Joaquim Leite stressed the need for greater financial support to developing countries to help achieve a global green transition.

“We need more resources than $ 100 billion a year. A study released a few days ago by a bank indicates $ 5,000 billion a year, both public and private, ”said Leite, adding that Brazil must have clear policies and incentives to promote green development.

“When I plan green projects, I have to be more agile to approve the project, to make it become a reality,” he said.

——— Álvares reported from Brasilia. ———

Follow AP’s coverage of the climate talks at http://apnews.com/hub/climate

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