Webinar with leading environmentalist representatives to advance the climate agenda in 2020
Assembled by Centro Brasil no Clima (CBC), with support from Instituto Clima e Sociedade, a webinar was held on March 18th with 83 of the main personages of strategic institutions to resist climate change, among prominent figures from academia and the third sector, as well as the public and private sectors. The objective was to analyze, in a collaborative fashion and with great critical thinking, the current scenario and to develop actions that move forward the climate agenda in Brazil in 2020, also addressing aspects linked to COP 26 and the municipal elections.
Alfredo Sirkis, executive director of CBC, paralleled the current state of things with a popular Chinese anagram, which expresses how crises are synonymous with opportunities. He also reinforces that "we live in an unparalleled situation, in which the only comparison is the effect of the great depression of 1929". Carlos Nobre, a scientific household name on climate change, raises the question of how the starting crisis will impact on the deforestation of the Amazon, which is already responsible for most of the greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions in Brazil. For Sérgio Margulis, who is a consultant at the International Institute for Sustainability (IIS) and former chief economist at the World Bank, “it seems inevitable that emissions in Brazil and in the world will be reduced. In the Amazon, although I believe that its deforestation will initially decrease, it is necessary to recognize a degree of uncertainty".
Alice Amorim, coordinator of Climate Policy and Engagement at Instituto Clima e Sociedade, said that there has probably never been “such a concrete situation to work, simultaneously, the climate goals with the social and economic agenda The time has come to implement structural interventions so that the future restoration is not just a return to the status quo”. Oswaldo Lucon, the sitting coordinator of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change (FBMC), points out that the current drop in the price of oil may be a suitable occasion to carry out carbon taxation, or at least to promote the debate about it.
One of Brazil's most prominent environmental economists, Cadu Young identifies that it is an “important moment to insert long-term measures into the emergency plans that are connected to climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals, including actions that value science and technology in the country, which are going through their worst time”. Young also recalls that several studies have already proven that deforestation and environmental degradation increase the likelihood of contact with new zoonosis, which may lead to new crises similar to the one initiated by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Eduardo Viola, the leading Brazilian political scientist specialized in International Relations and Climate Change, says that “we have a situation that demands maximum global cooperation, but instead we see a world with the two main powers being increasingly belligerent to one another, now exchanging accusations about who was responsible for the origin of the coronavirus pandemic”.
The attacks in the parliamentary sphere were remembered by Mario Mantovani, director of the Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica, who highlighted the work that has been done to technically subsidize several congressmen, including the presidents of the House and the Senate. For Marcio Astrini, the new executive secretary of the Observatório do Clima, 2020 would be at first the year in which a large anti-environmental strategy was planned through legislative and presidential bills. With attention focused on combating the new coronavirus, "many of these guidelines will expire, temporarily reducing the risk of setbacks". As for COP 26, Marcio mentions the significance of developing sectoral NDCs, with as much specificity as possible.
Co-chairman of the UN Panel of Natural Resources and former minister of the environment, Izabella Teixeira indicates that the meetings prior to COP-26, in Glasgow, are being canceled, and the Conference is at the risk of being postponed. The situation generates several damages, since it is in these meetings that strategies and discussions take place, which leads to the decisions at the main event.
Regarding the 2020 municipal elections, Sirkis reveals that the CBC is available to contribute to all representatives and political parties that are willing to discuss the climate agenda, regardless of political spectrums. He also defines how fundamental it is that the climate issues remain associated with everyday problems such as waste management, flood prevention and other examples related to adaptation.
After its closure, participants praise the conference and its future repercussions. For CBC, there is a feeling that it was only the first of many successful webinars.