Will Brazil really save the Amazon?
Some multinationals have also become embittered in Brazil, as they too face growing consumer pressure. European companies, including UK retailers like Tesco and M&Sthreatened to boycott Brazilian agricultural products because of deforestation.
“The world is starting to move towards an economy where you want to know where the product you buy comes from,” says Alves. “And Brazil is not ready to provide an answer.”
Brazil could also be left out of the new, greener global economy that is emerging, as international investors keen to pour money into sustainable, carbon-neutral businesses view the country with caution, says Azevedo. “There is great interest from companies wanting to invest in Brazil. But they lack adequate legal certainty due to land grabbing, invasions and lack of enforcement.”
As international pressure mounts, Bolsonaro is softening his tone and reinstating climate goals he abandoned a few years ago, setting even more ambitious goals. “He’s trying to show the world that he’s doing something for the climate, because he’s been put on the spot,” Alves says. “But it’s not backed by the action.”
Meanwhile, Brazil is beginning to feel the climate impacts of deforestation, which could usher in new emissions challenges. This year, Brazil has been grappling with its worst drought in more than 90 years. The water reservoirs that supply the country’s hydroelectric power stations have dried up, compression of energy supplies and increase the attractiveness of the most polluting energy sources.
In a worrying move, Bolsonaro has responded with plans to invest $4bn (£2.9bn) in what is being called sustainable coal mining over the next decade by modernizing coal-fired power plants and making them more efficient. Along with plans for accelerate oil and gas productionthis cast new doubts on Brazil’s commitment to the environmental Protection and reduce its carbon emissions.
“All eyes are on deforestation right now,” says Voivodic. “But, soon, we will also have to take up this challenge.”
Research and Data Visualization by Kajsa Rosenblad
Animation by Adam Proctor
Towards net zero
Since the signing of the Paris Agreement, how have countries respected their climate commitments? Towards net zero analyzes nine countries on their progress, major climate challenges and lessons for the rest of the world in reducing emissions.
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