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Local governments want to contribute to the Paris agreement

The assessment is that the government should invest in data analysis and enforcement teams

Meetings of municipal and state environmental secretaries from around the country, in different forums, marked the agenda of Climate Week - the Latin American and Caribbean Climate Week, organized by the UN in partnership with the Brazilian government in Salvador (BA).

Folha followed three meetings throughout the week. Although organized by different institutions, the events had in common the objective of articulating local governments to implement the goals assumed by Brazil in the Paris Agreement. The subject was from the fight against deforestation to the adoption of renewable energies, through urban mobility and the preference for less polluting means of transport.

The movement is a reaction to federal government positions contrary to its commitment to the Paris Agreement. Yesterday, the secretary of international relations of the Ministry of Environment stated that Brazil has already fulfilled goals of the agreement established for 2030, such as the transition to renewable energy. The audience reacted with boos and shouts of lies.

Bolsonaro has already told the press that he considers leaving the Paris Agreement in a similar position to Donald Trump. American behavior also inspires the reaction of local governments. In the United States, 25 of the 50 states build an alliance to maintain the implementation of climate commitments.

One of the events, sponsored by the Alzira and Clima e Sociedade institutes, brought together mayors to exchange experiences on the climate agenda in municipalities under women’s command.

On Wednesday (21), environmental secretaries from 13 capitals and four states (Sergipe, Pernambuco, São Paulo, and Bahia) met. They exchanged experiences and made a joint commitment to the climate agenda, through Abema (Brazilian association of environmental state entities) and CB27 (a group of municipal secretaries of the Brazilian capitals).

“Local governments are taking on the leading role of the climate agenda,” told to Folha André Fraga, coordinator of CB27, Salvador’s secretary of the environment. Today, he expects to receive the mayors of São Paulo, Curitiba, Campinas, and Manaus to meet at the end of Climate Week.

However, most secretaries believe that the movement cannot oppose the federal government because they need a dialogue to transfer funds.

The northeastern states’ consortium would make it easier to obtain federal resources. The initiative for joint projects is seen by meeting participants as a stake in the region’s governments’ role in the climate agenda.

The city of Recife, which organized a state conference on the topic last week, is due to host the Brazilian Climate Change Conference in November. The event is a preparation for the climate negotiations of the UN Climate Conference, which will take place the following month in Chile - after being canceled by the Brazilian federal government at Bolsonaro’s request.

One of the leading articulators of state governments is Alfredo Sirkis, former coordinator of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change. He was fired by Bolsonaro in early May, shortly after holding a meeting in which 11 governors declared their commitment to the Paris Agreement.

Also on Wednesday (21), he organized the event Governors for Climate in Salvador, with online participation of the Governor of Espírito Santo, Renato Casagrande.

“Despite being a small state in population size, we have big companies like Vale and Suzano. They are more aware of the need to meet climate goals than the federal government,” said Casagrande.

“The spearhead is the governors because they have more political power, but behind that come city hall and big business. So this makes Brazil accomplish its climate goals and is a vibrant part of the climate agenda,” said Sirkis.

“If we do an x-ray, only two or three governors are recalcitrant climate denialists, the caliber of the governor of Rondônia,” said Sirkis. In response, Amazon Secretary of Environment Eduardo Taveira recalled that the state of Rondônia signed a letter from the Amazon states committing to zero illegal deforestation. The state environmental secretary also accompanied the event but did not comment.

Also present at the event, the former Environment Minister and current Environment Secretary of Brasilia, Sarney Filho, recalled that most greenhouse gas emissions in the country do not happen in the cities, but because of deforestation, burning and land-use changes. Those are federally controlled actions.

Source: Folha de São Paulo

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