By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Seven days after announcing that it was canceling its participation, Brazil’s Ministry of Environment backed down and announced on Sunday that it would send representatives to the Latin American and Caribbean Climate Week, to be held from August 19th to 23rd in Salvador, Bahia. The event is an initiative by the United Nations in preparation for the U.N. Climate Conference (COP 25) in December, in Chile.
“The Ministry of the Environment decided to formulate a proposal, with emphasis on the Urban Environmental Quality Agenda and Payment for Environmental Services, to be discussed and supported at the Climate Week in Salvador, as well as in subsequent events until COP 25, in Chile, which should count on the participation of the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” reads the statement issued by the Ministry.
Earlier this month, Environment Minister Ricardo Salles had said that the government would not take part in the event, calling it a chance for officials and participants to “do tourism in Salvador”.
“I’m going to hold a meeting that will prepare for another one, which will not happen in Brazil. Why? It does not make any sense; it’s going to be in Chile! Should I have a meeting for the group to have an opportunity to do tourism in Salvador?” Salles said last week in a television interview to GloboNews.
According to officials, the government intends to present guidelines for the UN Climate Conference (COP 25) in December. Brazil was scheduled to host the event, but after Jair Bolsonaro won the presidential election in October, his newly formed government announced it was no longer willing to do so.
Since then, Bolsonaro’s administration has been signaling that it is unwilling to participate in the global effort against climate change, repeatedly criticizing the Paris Accord and downplaying climate change, despite the scientific consensus.
Bolsonaro’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Araújo has called the entire discussion a “Marxist dogma”, and Minister Ricardo Salles holds that the issue is not a priority for the current Administration.