Each day at the Durban climate conference, Climate Action Network (CAN) awards a “fossil of the day” to a particularly bad actor—a country or a corporation—that’s not apparently interested in addressing climate change seriously, or supporting a strong agreement here. Canada’s won several daily awards, as has the U.S. (sigh: yes, we still do excel in this). But Brazil just won, for the revisions it’s considering to its forest code that could open vast new areas of Amazon forest and grasslands to big agricultural development (cattle and soy and maize and sugarcane monocultures).
Apparently, Brazil’s environment minister had to delay her travel to Durban to work on (improve? reduce the damage from? scuttle?) the forest code legislation. So, she was not here to receive the award; someone else—not from Brazil’s official delegation—helpfully stood in. Not part of the presentation (but a point I raised at our COP side event) were these facts: that half of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the cattle sector alone; 75% are from agriculture. If the forest code changes go through, these emissions will almost surely rise. Fossilized indeed.
Image by CAN (Climate Action Network)