Temer Keeps Promise to Fight Climate Change By Signing Paris Agreement
On June 5, World Environment Day, Brazilian President Michel Temer signed the Paris Agreement into law. Brazil ratified the agreement in 2016, but it never became a law…until now.
Temer’s predecessor, impeached President Dilma Rousseff, had promised to eliminate all illegal deforestation and restore 12 million hectares of forest by the year 2030. With the change in power and the new administration’s focus on repairing Brazil’s broken economy, some worried President Temer would turn his back on environmental issues. This, of course, was the case with recently elected President Donald Trump, who is withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement.
However, Temer has declared his commitment to upholding Brazil’s responsibilities to reverse climate change: “Brazil will make its contribution, and live up to its responsibility. We know that climate change is a real problem, and we have to tackle it systematically and vigorously. Its effects are already felt in Brazil and in the world.” Upon ratifying the Paris Agreement in 2016, Temer committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 37 percent by 2025 and 43 percent by 2030.
Brazil has the largest tropical rainforest on the planet, and its greenhouse emissions are mainly a result of deforestation of the Amazon. This is unlike countries such as the US, China, Germany, and India, which all have high emissions from burning fossil fuel. According to the Washington Post, Brazil is currently the 7th highest emitter, accounting for 2.48 percent of global emissions. Though Brazil managed to reduce deforestation by 80 percent since 2004, deforestation showed a worrying spike between 2013-2015.
Temer’s commitment to fighting climate change includes expanding Brazil’s protected areas. Brazil has 347,000 hectares of protected forest across the country. On World Environment Day, Temer created a new national park and increased the total area included in three protected zones. Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park in the state of Goiás, Taim Ecological Station in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, and União Biological Reserve in the state of Rio de Janeiro will all be expanded. Chapada dos Veadeiros will see the most drastic increase from its current 65,000 hectares to 240,000 hectares.
Upon signing the agreement, President Temer declared: “We walk the path of sustainability. This is our duty to all Brazilians. This is also our commitment to present and future generations.”