Brazil plays a crucial role in the climate negotiations and is well known here for its skilled diplomacy. Since last year, it has presented several proposals for the Paris agreement that can contribute to advances in the negotiations. These proposals are part of what is starting to be discussed in the next days in Bonn.
However, in order for them to contribute to a breakthrough in the negotiations, and avoid being just a new way of stating the same old positions, some important changes are necessary.
In the official recommendations, the Brazilian Climate Observatory made some comments on the proposal of “Concentric Differentiation”, which divides countries into three concentric circles
- The Center containing developed and advanced emerging economies that should have absolute economy-wide targets;
- An Intermediate ring with developing countries that should adopt relative economy-wide targets
- An Outside ring with least developed countries that can have voluntary goals. Over time, all countries would migrate towards the center circle.
This proposal has been admired by a lot of people, some even calling it a shining example of how creative and progressive Brazil is at the UNFCCC.
It represents progress beyond the binary division where big industrialised countries and economies are placed against developing countries.
What is missing now is guidance on what type of commitments different countries should adopt. According to Brazil’s Climate Observatory, countries here need a processes can help push countries towards the centre circle, where they would be making more concrete actions to limit their greenhouse emissions.
Within the Brazilian proposal, there is also an important push for a review process of the commitments of each country – this will ensure that each country will add to their current commitments in a few years.
Here, it is clear that Brazil should support a review process that assesses the contribution of each country on their own. At the moment there is a push to only review what they’re calling a ‘global aggregate’. This is straight up silly. We’re not a football team, we’re in a relay race to stop global warming, and we can’t win without everyone pushing ahead as fast as they can.
Saying that, we can never review things based on one factor alone. Every country is different, and it is clear that any review will need to take account of the pink elephant in the room – Equity. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from such a giant of the developing world.
But while all this is going on, Brazil has shied away from economics.
We’re happy to talk about concentric circles, but apparently when it comes to carbon pricing our tongues are tied.
Ask any economist with half a brain left after endless hours in front of excel spreadsheets, carbon pricing is essential. When partnered with other measures, its the only global way to reel the fossil fuel economies into the renewable age.
That is why Brazil should not oppose carbon pricing. In fact, since we’re feeling creative, why couldn’t we propose new mechanisms to facilitate international financing and support for emissions reductions in developing countries? Something like that would really make this concentric circles approach powerful
All these propositions can be easily; so very easily included into Brazil’s position during the next days.
After travelling all this way to Bonn, this young Brazilian believes that if we can take these ideas forward – Brazil could again reclaim its world champion status, and show the world that our skills extend beyond the football pitch, and into the Paris agreement.