Skyline view of Rio De Janerio city and coast in Brazil

Presidential candidate Bolsonaro pledges to keep Brazil in Paris Agreement if elected

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Brazil’s leading presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, has said that he now intends to keep the country in the Paris Agreement regarding climate change if he wins the election, despite a previous pledge to follow in US President Donald Trump’s footsteps by pulling out of the accord.

Speaking at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, Bolsonaro said he wants guarantees ensuring Brazilian jurisdiction over indigenous land alongside a strip of land that runs from the Andes Mountains to the Atlantic that passes though the Amazon rainforest, known as the “triple A” region.

“Could we run the risk of losing our Amazon in the Paris Accord? You have the answer,” he said, following his defense of existing discussions revolving around those regions in the “backstage” of the Paris deal.

“Let’s put on paper that the Triple A isn’t in play and neither is the independence of any indigenous land and I’ll uphold the Paris Agreement,” Bolsonaro told journalists.

When asked if Brazil would abandon the accord without these assurances, Bolsonaro said that was not his intention. “Brazil stays in the Paris Agreement,” he said.

Bolsonaro previously said that, if elected, he would pull Brazil out of the Paris Agreement because of a clash of interests over how the Amazon rainforest should be protected. This would follow US President Trump’s example in pulling the US out of the international accord in June 2017.

This month, a group of non-governmental organisations including Greenpeace and WWF-Brazil signed an open letter saying that Bolsonaro’s proposals present a serious threat to Brazil’s environment that could lead deforestation “to explode”.

Brazil is home to around 60 per cent of the Amazon rainforest, which is considered one of nature’s best defences against global warming.

The candidate also said at the conference that he wanted to work with the United Nations to deal with a large influx of Venezuelan refugees in Brazil’s north, highlighting how he did not want conflict with the neighbouring country, whose government he has repeatedly criticised.

According to commentators, this is Brazil’s most polarised election in a generation, which has stirred political violence and threats against journalists, while Bolsonaro’s policy pledges have raised concern among many in the country, including environmentalists.

In related news, in September 2018 a body representing city authorities announced that greenhouse gas emissions from 27 major cities around the world have peaked despite growing populations and economies, suggesting that this marks a major milestone in achieving the aims set forth in the Paris Agreement.

In July 2017, Brazil was among the top list of countries making most progress in sticking to the rules laid out in the Paris Agreement regarding a reduction in emissions. However, the greenhouse gas reductions achieved by the front-running countries were still not enough to prevent a 2°C rise in temperatures across the globe at that point.

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