“Paris can count on an ally in Washington to advance the climate agenda in Brazil”

Tribune. Since 2018, the relationship between Brazil and France has been poisoned by the successive fires in the Amazon and the Pantanal and by the brutal advance of deforestation; But the presence of the American Donald Trump, who was the protector of President Jair Bolsonaro on the international scene, limited the room for maneuver of European countries.

The coming to power of Joseph Biden, who found the time to quote Brazil in one of his heated presidential debates, completely changes the situation. Paris can now count on an ally in Washington to advance the climate agenda in Brazil.

Ambiguous position

If it wants to play a major role, France must avoid falling into the traps created by its own ambiguous position in South America: it is both a world power and a regional actor which controls a large part of the Amazonian territory, the Guyana.

In 2019, President Emmanuel Macron lost part of the support of Brazilian public opinion when he raised the subject of an international status for the Amazon which reminds Brazilians of plans to internationalize space. national from the end of the 19th century.

Read also the tribune: “Europe can help us save the Amazon”

In addition, the defense of the sovereignty of the Amazon is a founding idea of ​​the modern Brazilian army, an ally of the Bolsonaro government, but also a pillar of the international agenda of the nationalist left.

Another approach is possible. Brazil today is living the paradox of having at the top of the state one of the leaders of climate denial and, at the same time, a civil society, a private sector and an academia aware of the urgency and concerned by the political and economic impact of Bolsonaro’s positioning in the world, and in particular in France.

Above all, this is not the time for a boycott and sanctions strategy that would risk leading to greater isolation of Brazil, and possibly to a strengthening of the forces in power.

Torch taken back

It is an understatement to say that Brazil has had bad press in recent years, both because of climate issues and its management of the Covid-19 pandemic. But under the shadow of the federal government, social and economic actors have launched a number of initiatives showing what the vision of a green Brazil could be. From North to South, from São Paulo to Maranhão, state governments have taken up the torch of the fight against climate change abandoned by the federal government of Bolsonaro.

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