Brazil's Bolsonaro dismisses COP25 'game'

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends the Navy Day celebrations at the Marines Corp headquarters in Brasilia, on December 13, 2019. -AFP
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends the Navy Day celebrations at the Marines Corp headquarters in Brasilia, on December 13, 2019. -AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic, on Sunday dismissed as a "commercial game" the result of the COP25 climate talks in Madrid.

He particularly singled out rich European nations as the players.

Brazil was meant to host this year's global climate meeting but withdrew its offer more than a year ago, citing financial restrictions shortly after Bolsonaro's election.

"I don't know why people don't understand that it's just a commercial game," Bolsonaro told reporters outside his official residence.

Blaming wealthy countries, he said, "I'd like to know: has there been a resolution for Europe to be reforested, or are they just going to keep bothering Brazil?"

Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for easing restrictions on exploiting the Amazon's vast riches, leading to accelerated deforestation.

Brazil's Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, who participated in COP25, also criticized its results.

On Twitter, he said, "Rich countries did not want to pay up."

Salles particularly regretted a lack of progress on carbon markets.

Brazil and Australia are among the countries that want to count carbon credits accumulated under a previous climate deal as part of their commitments under the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

Discussions over markets ended in an impasse Sunday, and the issue will be handed over to next year's COP26 in Glasgow.

"Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of Brazil, a protectionist vision took hold, and Brazil and other countries that could provide carbon credits because of their forests and good environmental practices came out losers," Salles said.

Several hours later, the minister posted a provocative tweet with a photo of a large platter of meat.

"To compensate for our emissions at COP, a vegetarian lunch!" the accompanying text said.

Brazil is the world's number one beef exporter, and deforestation is often caused by breeders who want to transform the Amazonian jungle to feed their herds. -AFP


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