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Ambiente & Sociedade

Print version ISSN 1414-753XOn-line version ISSN 1809-4422

Ambient. soc. vol.7 no.1 Campinas Jan./June 2004 



Brazil in the context of global governance politics and climate change, 1989-2003


O Brasil nas políticas de governança global e mudança climática, 1989-2003



Eduardo Viola*




The climate regime is the more comprehensive and ambitious of all environmental regimes, linking in a very direct way one the most crucial economic issue, the use of energy and energy efficiency with one of the stronger environmental threaten. For this reason the climate regime is one of the most important examples of the impasses of building up some limited global governance in a unipolar anarchic world. The paper discusses the evolution of the Brazilian standing in its relation with the world during the last decade: moving from a more nationalist toward a more liberal and globalist standing in many issues related to the governance of the world. Also, the paper analyses the evolution of the Brazilian stance in the negotiations of the Kyoto Protocol: strong defense of the principle of common/differentiated responsibility, proposal of Clean Development Fund, alliance with USA for transforming the Clean Development Fund in the Clean Development Mechanism, moving from opposition to supporting of flexibility mechanisms, making bridge between developed and developing countries in many negotiations, supporting the European Union in the opposition to the inclusion of carbon sinks, opposition to emergent countries voluntary commitments, opposition to the eligibility of primary forest protection for the Clean Development Mechanism, strong criticism of the withdraw of USA in March 2001, leading role among developing countries in supporting the reaching of a final agreement in Bonn (July 2001) and Marrakech (November 2001), and leading role in trying to achieve the ratification of the Protocol in 2002. Finally the paper shows how the reluctance of Russia to ratify the Protocol during 2003 was producing a combination of despair and disengagement in the Lula administration.

Keywords: Global Governance, Carbon Emissions, International Environmental Regimes, Kyoto Protocol, Brazil


O sistema de clima é um dos mais abrangentes e mais consequentes de todos os sistemas ambientais, uma vez que ele liga, de maneira bastante direta, o uso eficiente de energia, que é uma das questões eonômicas mais importantes, e uma das mais fortes ameaças.ambientais. Por esta razão, o sistema de clima é uma das mais importantes evidências dos impasses na definição de limites do governo globlal em um mundo unipolarizado e anárquico. Este artigo discute a evolução da posição do Brasil em relação ao governo global durante a década passada, quando o Brasil passou de uma posição mais nacionalista para uma posição mais liberal e globalista. O artigo também discute a evolução a atuação do Brasil durante as negoiciações do Protocolo de Kyoto. Nesta ocasião, o Brasil defendeu fortemente o princípio da responsabilidade comum/diferenciada, e propôs o Fundo de Desenvolvimento Limpo. Em seguida, o Brasil fez uma aliança com os Estados Unidos para substituir este fundo pelo Mecanismo de Desenvolvimento Limpo. O Brasil também mudou sua posição como opositor e apoiou os mecanismos flexíveis, criando uma ponte entre os países desenvolvidos e os países em desenvolvimento em muitas negociações. Além disso, o Brasil apoiou a União Européia contra a inclusão de bacias de carbono, foi contrário aos compromissos voluntários dos países emergentes e à possibilidade de inclusão de proteção de florestas primárias no Mecanismo de Desenvolvimento Limpo e criticou fortemente a retirada dos Estados Unidos em março de 2001. O Brasil desempenhou um papel de liderança entre os países em desenvolvimento no apoio aos esforços para se chegar a um acordo final em Bonn (Julho de 2001) e em Marrakech (Novembro de 2001) e na tentativa de implementação da ratificação do Protocolo em 2002. Finalmente, o artigo mostra como a relutância da Rússia em ratificar o Protocolo durante o ano de 2003 afetou a administração Lula produzindo uma combinação de desespero e desengajamento em seu desempenho.

Palavras-chave: Governo Global, Emissòes de Carbono, Regimes Ambientais Internacionais, Protocolo de Kyoto, Brasil.




Climate regime is the most comprehensive and ambitious of all environmental regimes, as it links in a very direct way the efficient use of energy, one of the most crucial economic issues, to one of the strongest environmental threats (PORTER & BROWN, 1996). The climate change convention, signed in Rio in 1992, settled as a generic goal for all countries the reduction of GHG emissions, particularly for developed countries, which should stabilize GHG emissions by 2000 at the 1990 level. By mid1990s, it was clear that none developed country would reach that goal. The Kyoto Conference of Parties, in December 1997, made a significant progress with an agreement over a Protocol (GRUBB, 1999).

In spite of years of intense negotiations, the Kyoto Protocol has not being ratified yet and, by early 2004, there was a strong chance that it would never become legally binding. This could be attributed to the combination of six major factors. The first and most important being the weak leadership of major greenhouse gas emitting countries and the lack of progress in crucial developed countries in meeting stabilization targets settled by the Kyoto Protocol. Comparing with the baseline of 1990, in 2000 carbon emissions increased as the following: in the United States it was 14% higher (commitment: 7% lower by 2010); in Canada it was 17% higher (commitment: 6% lower by 2010); in the United Kingdom it was 15% lower (commitment: 12% lower by 2010); in Germany it was 17% lower (commitment: 21% lower by 2010); in the Netherlands it was 17% higher (commitment: 6% lower by 2010); in Japan it was 4% higher (commitment: 6% lower by 2010). Among developed countries, only U.K., Germany, Sweden and Denmark are on the way to comply with their commitments by 2010. Even countries like the Netherlands and Austria, which have been for decades at the world vanguard in environmental policies, are facing strong difficulties to address their commitments (VIOLA & SIMÕES, 2003).

The second factor is the American withdrawal from Kyoto after George W. Bush became president in 2001. Actually, Bush's administration policies are the expression of a deep public opinion transformation that happened in developed countries: a gradual and steady moving from mitigation to adaptation to climate change. Either outspokenly as the American conservatives or hidden behind a politically correct discourse as the Europeans, peoplearound the world are continuously demanding the search for almost infinite material affluence which contradicts the goal of lowering carbon emissions, at least within the current energy matrix. The U.S. produced 24% of total world carbon emissions in 2000. According to the Kyoto Protocol ratification clause, whose baseline was the American emissions proportion in relation to the other countries of Annex 1 in 1990, l, this amount counted for 35% of the amount developed countries could emit before the Protocol's infliction.. Because of the U.S. international system decisive role and world's unipolar nature, it is very difficult to have a successful international regime without the United States engagement.

The third factor is the fast growing carbon emissions rates in large emerging countries (China, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand) and their reluctance to commit themselves to reducing them in the future. The fourth factor is the continuous and insidious opposition to the Protocol by the majority of oil exporter countries, particularly the members of OPEC. The fifth factor is the turbulent and dramatic transformation experienced by Russian economy since the Kyoto signing in 1997. Because Kyoto commitments' baseline was the year of 1990,at that time Russia perceived itself as a winner in the regime. Nevertheless, that situation changed dramatically over the period of 2000-2003 because of the strong growth of Russian economy focused in oil and gas exploration. In December 2003 it became clear that Russia would not ratify the Protocol, following the United States and Australia. Finally, the sixth factor is the disagreement among the scientific and economic community about the pace and extent of climate change, and the costs and benefits of alternative response strategies.

The almost collapse of the Kyoto Protocol in the last months has shocked the community of researchers of human dimensions of global environmental change because most of them has underestimated the importance of transformations in the world since the Earth Summit. In spite of the rosy predictions of many analysts at the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, security and war issues are still of crucial importance as it was demonstrated by the terrorist attacks of September 11th and the American lead war against terrorism afterward. Cooperation in the global arena has been much more difficult than it was supposed at the end of the Cold War, with much greater conflicts in the world than it could be anticipated.

The possibilities of creating a prosperous, peaceful and sustainable world depend upon a general dissemination of free market economies and political democracies (HELD 1999; KEOHANE & MILLNER, 1996). However, the last fifteen years have shown that in many countries it is difficult to build up consistent market economies and political democracies. Some examples of success are remarkable: Poland, Hungary, Check Republic, Slovene, the Baltic States, Turkey, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. But the examples of failure are much more abundant. The procession of failed economic reforms, failed states, disintegrating societies and civil wars, in the last years, has been much more a product of historical domestic obstacles than the consequences of globalization. However, the societies that are already successfully integrated in the global economy have not had a globally responsible attitude - as according to the Kantian assumptions at the end of the Cold War - in order to help the other societies to build up market economies and political democracies (VIOLA, 1998). Summarizing, the failure of disseminating prosperous and democratic societies is driven by domestic obstacles in failed societies combined with the lack of responsible behavior by successful globalized societies.

Another major change since the Rio Summit has been the impact of information technology revolution acceleration. The global wave of strong expansion of environmental movements (from around 1972 to around 1995) was based on a process of criticism of economic prosperity impact and scientific and technological development of environmental quality. Environmentalism demanded some science self criticism and a slow down in the pace of technological and material progress. There was a growing attention to those demands from the main stream of society as well (INGLEHART, 1997). This cultural atmosphere has changed dramatically since the late 1990´s. Acceleration of information revolution in the second half of the 1990´s has promoted a growing confidence in the capacity of technology to solve the problems that technology itself has created, even ifthe technological gap among societies has increased dramatically. Also, the growing capacity of creating technological environments - through generalized air conditioning and fast and cheap transportation and communication systems — is producing a new pos-environmentalist des-sensitiveness in relation to human transformation of nature. The dramatic acceleration of technological innovation has disseminated in developed societies the impression that they could protect themselves against the negative consequences of global environmental degradation. This new technological assertiveness in developed societies has undermined the idea of a common fate — in facing environmental degradation - for the whole humanity that had had a momentum at the time of the Rio Summit.

The environmental movement has had extreme difficulties in understanding that new path of technological assertiveness among the main stream of societies. These difficulties were aggravated by the naïve view of democracy prevailing among environmentalists. The environmental movement has contributed to the dissemination of participative democracy with a significant illiberal component. Along with positive results, increased participation also brings in negative ones, such as poor organization and inflation of expectations that later on create stakeholder participation fatigue and cynicism. A long term comparison of political systems demonstrate that to ensure good governance the institutional quality of participation is more important than its intensity.



Brazilian economy has grown strongly since 1945, though there are two clearly differentiated periods. During the period of 1945-1979, Brazilian economy grew at the rate of 7% a year, which was a much higher rate than that of world's average. In the 1970s, the country became the ninth largest economy of the world, behind the G7 and the Soviet Union. During the period of 1980-2003, Brazilian economy grew at the rate of 2% a year, which was below the world's average. In spite of the strong growth of the economy, Brazil has not been capable of overcoming the extremely unequal income distribution. During the whole last century Brazil has always been one of the worst countries in the world in terms of income distribution.

During the whole 20th century, the links between Brazil and the rest of the world have been mostly based on the principles of world peace, free trade, cultural diversity and religious freedom. Most of the time, political democracy has been a stated goal of Brazilian society, though there have been several periods of political authoritarianism. Between the years of middle 1960's and late 1980's, some sectors of the military/foreign policy establishment attempted to build up nuclear weapons capabilities in the country as a platform for achieving a greater power status in the global arena. Between 1960 and 1990, Brazilian society experienced a strong tension derived from the growing of two contradictory economic —and political trends: from one side the development of transnational corporations, private initiative and Western values, and from the other side the expansion of state owned corporations, bureaucracies and nationalist values.

Brazil's position in global environment emerging arena in the early 1970's corresponds to the country's economic profile. Brazilian stance was based in the principle that the main pollution was poverty, and environmental protection should come only after a dramatic development of the country's economy and an increase of the per capita income to the same level of developed countries. During the Environment Conference of Stockholm in 1972, Brazil and China led a coalition of Third World countries opposing to the recognition of the importance of emergent global environmental problems. Brazil's standing in Stockholm was based in three principles: defense of unrestricted national sovereignty in relation to the use of natural resources; environmental protection should come only after reaching high per capita income; and the burden of paying for global environment protection should be an exclusive responsibility of developed countries (VIOLA, 1997).

During the 1990's Brazil has consolidated the democratic regime, has expanded the Rule of Law (though more is still needed), has opened its economy to foreign trade and investment and has had a foreign policy based on a strong approximation with Western countries.

In 2003 Brazil continued to be a very important country in the world arena, though its economic importance has declined in relation to the 1970´s. In 2003 Brazil is the 14th economy in the world, considering market exchange rates. The country is behind the G7, China, Spain, Mexico, South Korea, Australia and India. Brazil possess 6% of world's surface, 178 million inhabitants (2.4% of the world population), growing 1.1% a year, with a density of 20 inhabitants per square kilometer and approximately 70% of the population being urban (living in cities with more than 50.000 inhabitants). Brazilian GDP is 480 billion dollars, considering market exchange rates, and around 1.3 trillion dollars, considering purchasing power parity. Brazilian per capita income is 2,700 dollars, considering exchange rates, and 7,500 dollars, considering purchase capacity. The country holds around 1.4 % of the World Economic Output, considering exchange rates, and around 2.5% of the World Economic Output, considering purchase capacity. Inflation was 9% a year in 2202 and 2003. Unemployment rate was 12.5% in 2003 and labor cost per hour was 2.6 dollars. Brazil is in the 62nd rank in the United Nations Human Development Index. The proportional value added to the country's economy is: agriculture 9%, industry 28% and services 63%. The gross domestic investment is 18%; the government revenues (federal, state and municipal) are 36% of GDP; and the overall budget deficit is 4.5% of GDP (discounting the public debt interest, the country has 4.3% of surplus). The annual foreign direct investments in the period of 1996-2003 averaged 14 billion dollars, a top record in Brazilian history and among the highest in the world, with a peak of 26 billion dollars in 2000 and the smallest figure in 2003 (9 billion). In 2003, the public debt was 270 billion dollars (56% of GDP) and the total debt service was 48 billion dollars. For this reason, Brazil is a country with a structural risk of public debt default. By the end of 2003, a moment of great liquidity in global financial markets, Brazilian bonds paid around 450 points over the American treasury bonds, 150 points above the average of emerging markets. In 1998 the trade balance of Brazil had a deficit of 8 billion dollars and in 2003 had a surplus of 24 billion dollars. There was a dramatic change in Brazilian trade relations with the world that reduced the country's vulnerability, though Brazil's currency reserves have been low since 1999. In December 2003 the reserves (excepting the loans from International Monetary Fund) were equivalent to 24 billion dollars. The foreign debt/export ratio was also highly vulnerable, 300%. The current-account balance, as % of GDP, was improving dramatically in the last 3 years: -4.55 in 2001, -1.72 in 2002 and + 0.20 in 2003. Brazil participates with only 0.9% of the world foreign trade (it exports mostly commodities and manufactured products of intermediate technology, but also high tech products like aircrafts). The most important trading partners of Brazil are: USA 28%, European Union 21%, Argentina 13% and China 8%. Brazil produces around 2.5% of the world carbon emissions (considering industry, energy, transportation, land use/land change and cattle ranching), with carbon emissions of around 1.5 metric tones per capita. Brazil has 5.5 million square kilometers of forests with a deforestation rate of 0.5% a year, around 20% of the world's terrestrial biodiversity, and around 15% of world's fresh water, from which only 0.5% is used.

There are some dissonances that are in the core of the Brazilian position in the global arena. Income per capita is slightly below the world average if calculated according to exchange rates, and slightly above the world average if calculated according to purchase capacity, though in both cases it is much more unfairly distributed since 1% of the richest sector of the population gets 14% of the national income and 50% of the poorest sector of the population gets 13% of the national income. The country's economy is still significantly more closed than the average of other world economies because its export capacity is low, though it has grown dramatically in the past years, from only 8% of GNP in 1998 to 14% of GNP in 2003. Carbon emissions per capita are well below developed countries but above the average of middle income countries. Carbon emission per unity of GNP doubles the world average, and it is well above developed countries and slightly above the average of middle income countries. Carbon emissions coming from the modern sector of the economy (industry, energy, transportation, housing and agri-business) are very low because the energy matrix is based in hydropower, and consequently carbon emissions coming from the modern sector are well below the average of middle income countries. The only modern sector that is high in equivalent carbon emissions is cattle raising because Brazilian herd is the largest commercial herd in the world with significant methane emissions. Carbon emissions coming from land change and traditional land use are extremely high. In this point modern Brazil is hostage of traditional Brazil. In terms of energy efficiency, modern Brazilian economy is doing much better than most middle income countries, and traditional Brazilian economy is doing much worse than most middle income countries (FEARNSIDE, 1999).



During the 1990's Brazil progressed dramatically toward a convergence with Western democratic capitalism: deep market reforms created for the first time in history an economy that is more based in market mechanism than in State regulations; direct foreign investment from developed countries have been among the highest in the world; independent courts have operated in every dimensions of social/economic life; transparent public accounts and fiscal responsibility became goals of the national society; corruption in politics has diminished though it continues of being relatively high; political democracy became more deeply rooted in the social web and the country's political culture; respect of Human Rights became core goals of the domestic and international public policies; attempts to build up a strong military machine were abandoned and the military have gradually been civilized; public awareness about environmental protection have grown continuously; and the country foreign policy has achieved, for the first time, some capacity of regional and global leadership, giving some foundations to the country's pretension of becoming a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. Since early 1980s, the only area in which there has not been significant transformation is related to income distribution and its consequence, that is the growing urban and rural violence. From this point of view there has been a vicious circle around the difficulties in overcoming the heritage of slavery and the trend of a globalized economy to produce a new digital/information divide. The growing of urban/rural violence in the 1990s has been strongly related to the production, trade and consumption of illegal drugs and other illicit acts like smuggling of electronic products and gold and trade of endangered species. By the end of the 20th century, in the 1990s, Brazil has successfully adapted to globalization from an economic point of view, but highly unequal income distribution and growing social violence and crime are major threats to the stability of Brazilian society (SIMÕES & VIOLA, 2003).

Brazilian position in the global arena is ambivalent, in spite of the significant and positive shifts of Collor (1990-92) and Cardoso (1995-2002) administrations to tune in and converge with the liberal policies of OECD countries. A significant part (military, foreign affairs, development promotion) of Brazilian state bureaucracy is nationalist (although pragmatic) and traditionally afraid of any kind of cosmopolitanism (always associated with fears in relation to sovereignty over the Amazon Forest). Civil society, in spite of the active participation of many Brazilian NGOs in global networks of social action on several issues, defends a diffuse and utopian community (almost anti-liberal). Many Brazilian native corporations are taking good advantage of globalization but few have developed as truly transnational corporations with Brazilian headquarters.

Cardoso administration produced a paradigmatic shift in Brazilian foreign policy. It strengthened economic ties with the U.S. and the EU. (Onis 2000). Brazil also has strongly supported the West in most global issues: Human Rights Protection, strengthening of Intellectual Property Rights and the World Trade Organization, Protection of Women and Reproductive Health, and condemnation of Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism. However, the ministry of foreign affairs kept some Non-Western approaches, like the continuity of its affiliation with G77 at U.N. forums as a way of getting a wide support for its candidacy to be a new permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

Brazilian participation in the global arena of the 1990s was shaped by four major trends: the acceptance of limitations to the principle of national sovereignty, the clear decision of fighting to become one of the new permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in the occasion of its enlargement, the strong commitment with strengthening Mercosur as a way to cope with the challenges of integration in a globalized economy, and the support of universalism and contractualism in issues like Human Rights, Political Democracy, Reproductive Rights, Women Rights, Social Equity and the Environment. The four principles are greatly apart from Brazilian foreign policy during the 1970's and the 1980's when it was based on the principle of absolute national sovereignty and attempted to set the country in the global arena as a Great Power with a strong military.

During his fast tenure as Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1992-93, Cardoso persuaded Franco government about the necessity of moving the Space Program from the military to civilian control in order to get highly needed technological exchange for the program development. Also following Cardoso initiative, Brazilian Senate ratified the Nuclear Free Latin American Zone Treaty (Tlatelolco) in 1994, significantly later than other Latin American countries. Immediately after starting his presidency, in 1995, Cardoso started a series of foreign policy movements that put Brazil in complete alignment with the West. In 1995, Cardoso completed his work in the missile area signing the Brazilian joining to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). During the 1980's and the early 1990's the military had strongly opposed to the MTCR. Immediately after the signing of MTCR Brazil was invited to participate in the project for the construction of a multinational space station to be settled in orbit, and consequently Brazil became a member of the select Space Club. Finally, a last step toward Brazilian credibility improvement as a peaceful member of the world community happened in 1999, when Brazil overcame some American distrust and signed an agreement with USA, Italy and Ukraine, to launch commercial satellites from the Alcantara base, with strong competitive advantages because Alcantara is located almost in the Equator line. However, nationalist and leftist sectors entrenched in Congress have denied ratification of the agreement with the U.S. arguing that it was a damage to Brazilian sovereignty.

Brazil was one of the leader countries in designing the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed in 1995, and supported, with some resistance from the military, the Land Mines Ban Treaty signed in 1997. It took more than two years in his tenure for Cardoso persuading the military and diplomatic establishment about the need to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. By the time Brazil signed it (1997), Brazil was the country out of four others (North Korea, Iraq, and Libya) that had not signed the Treaty yet. Brazilian diplomacy was very rigid in this issue and continued arguing that the treaty was unfair and discriminatory, as if the world was still in the 1970s. The long term opposition to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty is one of the major errors of Brazilian diplomacy in the 20th century. Also in 1996 Cardoso persuaded the military about the need of a better coordination between the U.S. and Brazil in fighting Narco-traffic and consequently both countries signed a new cooperation agreement. However, most Brazilian decision makers perceive the American support to Colombian government's fight against the Narco-guerrilla as a threat to Brazilian sovereignty in the Amazon region.

The U.S. and Western European countries were very pleased with the new Cardoso policy of breaking up the State monopolies in petroleum and telecommunication sectors and American and European telecommunication corporations invested very strongly in Brazil since 1996. During the Clinton visit to Brazil in 1997, Brazil and USA signed important agreements for cooperation in several areas: higher education, science and technology, environment and drugs. According to the environmental agreement both countries compromised to exchange as deeply as possible ideas in order to reach more common positions in several issues: climate change, depletion of the ozone layer, conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, deforestation, desertification, ocean pollution and management of hazardous wastes and toxic substances. In order to further their common agenda for the environment, the United States and Brazil stated their intention to hold regular high level consultations, on at least an annual basis, to discuss priority issues of mutual concern in the area of environment and sustainable development. Such consultations have involved the participation of relevant governmental agencies from both sides concerned with environmental protection and sustainable development. In relation to the Amazon, since 1992, there has been the implementation of the Pilot Program for the Protection of the Tropical Forest funded by the G7. Since 1997 the U.S. National Aeronautic and Space Administration has collaborated with top group of Brazilian and international scientist in developing the Large Scale Biosphere Atmosphere Experiment in the Amazon, one of the most important programs for researching the carbon cycle in the world.

During four of the United Nations deliberations about military intervention in crisis situations in the last decade Brazil was reluctant to approve interventions: Iraq 1991, Haiti 1994, Kosovo 1999 and Iraq 2003. The Brazilian position in relation to the Persian Gulf War in 1991 was highly costly in terms of credibility for the country but at least was the last time that Brazilian military had some power in defining crucial issues of foreign policy. A Brazilian contingent participated in the UN observer force that guaranteed the October 1994 elections in Mozambique and in the UN observer force in Bosnia/Croatia in 1995. Brazil sent a significant military contingent for acting as peacekeepers in the failed mission in Angola (1996). More recently Brazil has sent a contingent to East Timor (1999) where the U.N. interim authority was lead by the Brazilian diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello (that died in a terrorist attack in Baghdad in August 2003). The Lula administration strongly supported the French-German-Russian opposition to the Anglo-American attack to Iraq but the Bush administration chose to avoid any retaliation.

In all the World Summits related to Human Rights - the Vienna Conference on Human Rights from 1993, the Cairo Conference on Population and Development from 1994, and the Beijing Conference on Women Rights from 1995 - Brazil strongly aligned with Western countries liberal coalitions in the promotion of individual rights against the State or traditional institutions (VIOLA, 1997). In the Cairo and Beijing Conferences the Brazilian delegation had a significant participation of feminist leaders coming from the civil society and consequently had a leadership role in promoting universalistic and liberal causes. Different from other Latin American countries, the Brazilian Catholic Church was not successful in shaping the international standing of the country in a conservative direction.

Brazil has supported since the beginning all the treaties related to the global environment signed during the 1990's: the Basel Treaty for controlling and discouraging the international trade in hazardous waste from 1989, the London Amendment to the Montreal Protocol establishing technology transfer mechanism for substituting CFC from 1990, the Madrid Amendment (1991) to the Antarctic Treaty extending for more fifty years the moratorium to economic activities in that Continent, the Convention on Biodiversity (1992), the creation (1991) and expansion (1993) of the Global Environment Facility, and the Protocol on Biosafety (2000). In the development of all these treaties Brazil has middle to low profile participation, excepting for the Conversion on Biodiversity (VIOLA & LEIS, 2001).

During the negotiations of the Convention on Biodiversity (1990-92) Brazil had a leading role derived from its reality of being the biggest country in the world in biodiversity. One of the most important issues at stake during negotiation of the Convention on Biodiversity was related to the connections between biodiversity and biotechnology. From one side, the U.S. (where it is installed 2/3 of the biotech industry of the world) strongly defended the principle of Intellectual Property Rights according to the conventional definition. In the opposite side, a coalition of countries rich in biodiversity leaded by Brazil defended the right to royalties for countries where biodiversity is located, when biotech products are manufactured from biodiversity. The Convention finished in May 1992, implied a partial victory for the coalition of countries leaded by Brazil since the convention did not recognized the full principle of Intellectual Property Rights and defined it in a broad sense giving rights to indigenous people.



The Treaty of Asuncion that created Mercosur, signed in 1991, was developed under Brazilian leadership. The Treaty was crucial in two dimensions: it finished definitively with the regional rivalry between Brazil and Argentina deepening the civilian argument in favor of diminishing the importance of the military both sides, and promoted fast increasing in the flow of goods, capital, people and information among the four countries. Some months after Asuncion the presidents of Brazil and Argentine signed the Treaty that created the Common System for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials submitted to the regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Both Senates rapidly ratified the Treaty and since 1991 the Brazil/Argentina relationship made a turning point, definitively overcoming the rivalry that prevailed between the 1950s and the 1970s.

In 1994, after significant efforts for trade convergence leaded by Brazilian diplomats, the countries signed the Ouro Preto Protocol and deepened Mercosur, though still falling short of committing to the build up of supranational institutions. Mercosur was strongly shaken during the global financial crisis in the Emerging Markets in 1997/99, particularly after the devaluation of the Brazilian currency in January 1999. More recently Mercosur has became a mean of promoting commitments with stable public policies in all the countries (trade liberalization, fiscal equilibrium, coordination of macroeconomic policies, middle term prospective of a common currency), though the deep Argentinean crisis triggered peaked in 2002 has diminished the economic importance of the Treaty. During 1997-2000, the four Mercosur countries leaded by Brazil negotiated an additional Environmental Protocol that was ready to sign by late 2000. According to this Protocol the process of economic integration should include at its core environmental protection. The Protocol states that Mercosur is committed with clean air, clean water, the appropriate disposal of solid waste, the carefully management of hazardous waste, the preservation of biodiversity, the integrity of the ozone layer and the stability of the global climate (Leis & Viola 2000). The Protocol negotiated reflects the higher environmental standards present in the Brazilian economy and because of fears from Argentinean and Uruguayan entrepreneurs, in terms of undermining their competitiveness, has not been signed yet by early 2004.

During the final negotiations of the GATT Uruguay round in 1993 Brazil strongly supported trade liberalization based in its recent openness of the economy and was generally allied with USA, Australia, Canada and Argentina against the agriculture protectionism from the European Union and Japan. Also, Brazil strongly supported the foundation of the World Trade Organization in January 1995. However, Brazil opposes a general initiative rose by the U.S. vice-president Gore for starting a new negotiation round based in settling environmental protection clauses in international trade (VIOLA, 1999). During the difficulties negotiations that preceded the Seattle 3rd ministerial meeting in 1999, Brazil assumed the leadership of developing countries strongly confronting developed countries with relation to their trade barriers in relation to agriculture and industry products, and opposing labor and environmental conditions in a proposed new round of trade liberalization. During the 4th Ministerial meeting in Doha (2001) Brazil has had a leading role in the launching of the Development Round. Brazil has had a high profile in many issues: elimination of developed countries trade barriers for agriculture, textile and shoes; questioning subsidies and anti-dumping regimes in developed countries, promoting the inclusion of public health considerations as a restriction to intellectual property rights in the case of medicines. During the 5th Ministerial meeting in Cancun (2003) Brasil was the leader in the formation of G20 (including China, India, Mexico and South Africa) and was considered by the leaders of the U.S. and E.U. as a major responsible for the failure of the meeting.

During the negotiations for the creation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), started during the Miami Summit in 1994, Brazil always defended a slow pace: not before 2005 and not previous partial implementation. Brazilian position was based in the need to prepare its industry to completely open competition with the North American one. During the period 1994-97 the Brazilian standing implied conflict with the official policy of other Latin American countries (like Argentina, Uruguay and Chile) and USA that were in favor of a faster pace. Finally, in 1997, American Congress denied fast track legislation to Clinton, and the slow pace became a real constrain for the players that were favoring fast track. The tensions between Brazil and most of the countries of the Americas started again in 2002 when President Bush got fast track legislation from Congress and consequently there was a renewal of expectations for the creation of the FTAA. In the Miami meeting of November 2003 Brasil and U.S. agreed on a two track approach to FTAA. However, in the Puebla meeting (early February 2004) Brasil was isolated (having only the support of Argentina and Venezuela) facing a powerful alliance among U.S., Canada, Mexico and Chile that lead the G14 group in support of a stronger agreement.

Contrary to the more disseminated perception in the media, the U.S. and Brazil have much more common interests than contradiction in relation to hemispheric integration. Brazil would win in expanding markets for its agribusiness and attraction of more foreign direct investment and would loose because of the collapse of some capital intensive industries that are not competitive with the American corporations. Despite Lula's objections to signing an FTAA on mainly U.S. imposed terms, a pragmatic assessment of Brazil's options for achieving sustained economic growth would suggest that the current adversarial stance is undermining Brazilian potentialities (Viola & Pio 2003). It is also true that the American national interest could be harmed if Brazil's economy fails to achieve robust economic growth due to the stabilizer role the country plays in South America. The stability of the Western Hemisphere depends upon sustained economic growth in Brazil since this is the only way to avoid a forced restructuring of its 300 billion dollars foreign debt (65% public and 35% private). The default of Brazilian debt (after Argentine in 2001) would put the whole South America (excepting Chile) in long and dangerous economic, social and political crises. This would produce economic losses among American investors and would undermine American national security because of dramatic increase in transnational crime.



The Brazilian government's position in the Rio-92 Conference was founded in the following: global environmental problems are very important and priority should be given to them by the international community; the causing of global environmental problems has had differentiated historical responsibilities and that should be reflected in the measures for coping with them, being rich countries that should assume a much higher cost. During UNCED negotiations (1990-92) the Brazilian government was progressively standing back from its Nationalism (1972-88) and was assuming a Globalist position: it had leadership role in writing the Biodiversity Convention; it facilitated negotiations and the agreement in the climate change convention; and, it supported funding commitments in relation to Agenda 21. Though, the Nationalist heritage emerged when Brazil supported Malaysia in its opposition to a forest convention (VIOLA, 1997).

For a better understanding of Brazilian participation in the negotiations of the Kyoto Protocol is necessary to point out that in referring to carbon emissions the country has three great advantages and one major disadvantage. The three great advantages are: to be an intermediate country (being out of the obligatory commitments for reduction of carbon emissions corresponding to the developed countries), to have an energy matrix with strong weight of hydroelectricity (more than 90% of the electricity generated starting from hydro sources) and consequently very clean from the point of view of greenhouse emissions, and, to possess in his territory 16% of the world forests (having great importance in the global carbon cycle). The great disadvantage is to have big carbon emissions derived from the use of burning in traditional agriculture and from deforestation in the Amazon. The Brazilian carbon emissions are approximately 2.5% of the world emissions: approximately 25% produced by the modern economy and 75% produced by traditional agriculture, from land use conversion in the agricultural frontier and from inefficient timber industry. Approximately 80% of the Brazilian population is related to productive activities that don't depend on high carbon emissions and consequently has per capita emissions and per unit of GDP emissions very inferior to the developed countries. Approximately 20% of the Brazilian population is tied (direct or indirectly) to traditional agriculture, to land use conversion in the agricultural frontier and to inefficient timber industry, and consequently, it is responsible for higher per capita carbon emissions than the average of emerging countries and higher intensity of carbon emissions per GDP unit than the average of developed and emerging counties.

Because of the importance of the Amazon in Brazilian carbon emissions is convenient to look in a more detailed way to the Cardoso administration policies. They have had the following fundamental features: incentive to big investments in mining, energy, timber, soybean cropping and transportation; low capacity to punish illegal deforestation of the timber industry, of the landowners, of the settlers, of the "Land-less Rural Workers Movement" and of the traditional populations; low capacity to articulate policies and incentives for the development of the biodiversity/biotechnology complex that value forest resources promoting the development of high value added productive chains; low capacity to promote national and international ecological tourism; incapacity of controlling the expansion of organized crime flowed mainly from the traffic of drugs, weapons, gold and wild animals (this is constituted in the main problem for the consistence and efficiency of the public policies for the Amazon); and, priority for the establishment of the SIVAM radar system that became operational in 2002 and is having a positive impact in terms of some control of illegal activities. The growth of the demand for timber from the rest of the country, the existence of vast contingents of populations in poverty conditions with the consequent tendency to settle and deforest in public lands, the weakness in the field branches of IBAMA (the federal environmental protection Agency), and a short term approach to development on the part of the local elites has been the fundamental cause of Amazonian deforestation. The deforestation rate has been above 15.000 Km2 a year between 1985 and 1989 and since 1995, when a rational use of the forest would dispute less than 5.000 Km2 a year. The limited disposition and capacity to restraint the deforestation in the Amazonian demonstrated by the Cardoso administration (and for most of the state governments) has been a limitation on the potentialities of Brazilian leadership the Kyoto Protocol. The deforestation Establishment, predominant in the Amazon and with great power in Congress, has been conditioning the performance of Center-South modern Brazil.

The Brazilian performance in the Kyoto negotiation/ratification process (1996-2003) was guided by a definition of the national interest based in five main dimensions (that were much more committed with global governance than the definition of national interest at the time of the Stockholm Conference): 1 - to affirm the right to development as a fundamental component of the world order, in continuity with a classic pillar of the Brazilian foreign policy; 2 - to promote a world vision of development associated with environmental sustainability, in correspondence with the strong growth of public awareness on the environment in Brazil and its translation in national and state public policies; 3- to promote some funding from developed countries for climate mitigation related projects in developing countries; 4 - to promote a leadership role for Brazil in the world in correspondence with the growth in international prestige for the country during the Cardoso administration; and, 5 - to block international regulation in the use of forests in order to avoid the risks of international questioning to Amazonian deforestation. It is important to point out that the entrance of forests in the climate world regime was not noticed as threat to national sovereignty for other forest countries: USA, Canada, Russia, Australia and Costa Rica. To the contrary, they strongly promoted forest international regulation.



In June of 1997, Brazil made an original proposal, the Clean Development Fund (CDF), that it would be constituted by the fines pay for developed countries that would not accomplish with their emission reduction commitments. This proposal had strong support from emerging and poor countries, but it had frontal opposition of all of the developed countries. However, in October of 1997 an unexpected development happened: USA and Brazil articulated an altered version of CDF that was called Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The Clean Development Fund had the goal of Developed countries supplying for financial help to Non Annex 1 countries, with strong commitment to use cleaner technologies. Without the punitive character of the Brazilian original proposal of the Fund, that established penalties for Annex 1 countries that fail in reducing emissions, almost all the countries supported CDM. This opened the possibility for developed countries to accomplish part of their emission reduction commitments through the funding of sustainable development projects in emerging and poor countries. CDM ended up being one of the great innovations of the Kyoto Protocol and through it Brazil accepted the concept of flexibility market mechanisms in order to complement the reduction commitments of developed countries. This acceptance on the part of Brazil was a rupture so much with its previous opposition to Joint Implementation (already present in the Rio Convention), as well as with its opposition to marketable emission quotas among Annex 1 countries (that finished being established in the Protocol).

The launching of CDM proposal implied a moment of remarkable collaboration between the American and Brazilian diplomacies and in a victory claim for both because through it the emerging and poor countries begun to accept flexibility market mechanisms to complement the reduction commitments of developed countries. The most flexible and creative component of the Brazilian position in all of the negotiations of the Protocol was shown in the capacity to articulate with the American diplomacy, in October of 1997, to transform the non-viable Clean Development Fund in the promising Clean Development Mechanism. Between 1999 and 2001 Brazil led a victorious proposal for CDM to be the first of the three flexibility mechanisms to be implemented, and, and also to have in its Board of Directors a stronger emerging/poor countries representation if compared with the Global Environment Facility. The Brazilian Clean Development Fund was the Greenest position ever assumed by the Brazilian diplomacy in the formation of the Climate Regime (not considering as country position the strongly Green approach assumed by the Ministry of the Environment Lutzenberger in its confrontations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the 1990-92 Prepcoms).

Regarding the carbon sinks, the Brazilian national interest was always defined in a defensive way: the Amazonian forest was noticed as a burden because of deforestation and it was not considered as a trump card because of the global service of carbon sequestration. The Brazilian negotiators' implicit assumption was that the country would not get to put a significant brake in Amazonian deforestation. That carried Brazil out to stand against the inclusion of the whole carbon cycle in the Protocol, fearing that in the future, when they settle down commitments for emerging countries, Brazil could come to have a liability derived from high deforestation in the Amazon. The final decision can be analyzed as an intermediate result for that Brazilian positioning: on one side Brazil and the European Union were defeated because carbon sinks started to be a general part of the Protocol, but regarding the CDM, only reforestation and forestation will be able to be credit as carbon sink activities, being left out of the CDM activities for avoiding deforestation of primary forests (in this Brazil and the European Union were victorious). In the subject of non-inclusion of avoiding deforestation in the CDM Brasil was in minority among the non-Annex 1 countries, particularly in Latin America (VIOLA & LEIS, 2001).

In spite of being an emerging country with a clean energy matrix, Brazil assumed a general alliance with emerging countries with energy matrix heavy dependent upon fossil fuels (China, India, Indonesia, and South Africa). The advantage of the energy matrix was always subordinate to the disadvantage of Amazonian deforestation in the formation of the Brazilian position. Therefore, Brazil allied in general with the European Union against the forest countries with capacity of controlling deforestation (USA, Canada, Australia, Russia, Japan, Chile, Argentina and Costa Rica) in the subject of the inclusion of carbon sinks in the accounting of emissions. Consequently, Brazil did not worth the global service rendered by forests as carbon sinks. A positive alternative view on the Amazon would have taken Brazil to an inverse alliance what may have had significant influences on the final profile of the Protocol.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordination with the Ministry of the Science and Technology has been in charge of the negotiations in the climate regime. Until 1999, the presidency of the Republic didn't consider the negotiation of the Protocol of Kyoto as an important subject on which had to interfere. Also, until 1999, there was a poor participation of Non-government Organizations both in decision making and in the process of policy implementation. Some large corporations begin to be interested on climate change because of the influence of the Brazilian branch of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. There was also participation of some scientists responsible for offering technical back up to Brazilian diplomacy in the multilateral debates. Parallel, there has been always an effort of diplomacy in guaranteeing that Brazilian scientists participate in the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change. Congress has a minimal participation in the decision making of the Brazilian policy in Environmental Regimes. Its function is restricted to the ratification of the agreements signed by the Executive that happens without a significant involvement of civil society. Brazil foreign policies in relation to climate change have been internally consistent between 1996 and 1999 (after the open clashes between Environmental and Foreign Policy officials at the time of UNCED): restricted number of actors, concentration of decision making in the highest steps of the bureaucracy and good articulation among the agencies inside the bureaucratic structure (VIOLA, 2003).

Starting from 2000 the arena for defining the Brazilian positioning was enlarged with the inclusion of the Ministry of the Environment, of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development, some Amazonian State governments and several NGOs. In June 2000, due to the initiative of the president, the Brazilian Forum for Climate Change was created. This has a multi-stakeholder profile gathering several actors from government, business, NGOs and academia. This forum was an innovation at international scale outside developed countries, so much in terms of arena for the formation of the national positioning as for internalizing the climate regime inside the country. Starting from October 2000, the Ministry of the Environment and the governments of some Amazonian states questioned the historical positioning of Brazil that had always contradicted the inclusion of the whole carbon cycle in the Protocol (carbon sinks derived from forest and soil management). Several NGOs, particularly the ones that have strong performance in the Amazon, have actively demanded that Brazil supported the inclusion of projects related to the protection of primary forests (avoided deforestation) in the Clean Development Mechanism. However, Ministry of Science and Technology and Itamaraty continued prevailing.

Brazil always have had a leadership position in G77, although constituting in a bridge between this group and the developed countries, facing India, China, Indonesia and Malaysia, that assumed positions of larger confrontation with developed countries. Brazil has kept a position of putting all the responsibility for emissions reduction in developed countries and confronting their proposal for settling commitments for the reduction of emission's future growth rate on the part of the emerging countries. Leadership in this subject carried Brazil on to confront with developed countries (and particularly with USA) in several occasions and with Argentina in 1998/99. Brazil has assumed, since 1997, a principle position when raising the doctrine that carbon emission should be calculated in its historical accumulation since the end 18th century and not just with the baseline of 1990. Although this position has been counting with strong support from most Non annex 1 countries (and it has been one of the pillars of the Brazilian leadership), it has not been considered seriously by the annex 1 countries and consequently it has not had impact in the negotiating process. The Brazilian proposal is technically robust, it is legitimate from a historical and equality point of view, it is shaped by a theoretical approach based in universal rights of the world population to the use of the atmosphere as a global public good, and, it can be considered Utopian for being very far away from the effective realities of world power at the beginning of the 21st century. However, it is probable that the Brazilian proposal will end up contributing to improve the negotiation leverage of emerging countries if the future negotiations of the climate regime, particularly when decision about their emissions reduction commitments are going to be made.

Brazil has always had a strong leadership in the subject of new funding coming from developed countries to finance the transfer of clean technologies and capacity building in developing countries and it got a partial victory to this respect in the Bonn Conference (2001). The Brazilian emphasis in promoting the transfer of clean productive technologies was consistent with the Brazilian foreign policy goal, during the Cardoso administration, of promoting the competitive integration of the country in the globalized economy.

The relationships between Brazil and USA in relation to the Protocol became difficult since middle 1999 due to confrontation in several relevant issues: USA was favorable to commitments for reducing the rate of future emissions growth for emerging countries in the first period (2010) and Brazil was completely against, Brazil was contrary to the inclusion of primary forests in CDM and USA was in favor, USA was in favor of a weak compliance regime and Brazil supported the European Union in the proposal of a strong regime, Brazil (supporting the European Union) wanted to include limits in carbon sinks for developed countries and USA was against. From the American withdraw from the Protocol (March 2001) until the conclusion of the negotiations (November 2001) Brazil had an outstanding performance, so much in the critic of the American position as in the promotion of negotiations among the several blocks of countries. Brazil was a prominent country in articulating the alliance between the European Union, Japan and emerging countries that made possible the success in the final negotiation of the Protocol. In several international speeches - before and after September 11th - president Cardoso criticized incisively the unilateral policy of the Bush administration in relation to climate change. If we compared the relative positions of Brazil and USA regarding global environmental problems between 1989 and 2001, it is fair to say that there was an inversion of roles, that shows the positive evolution happened in Brazil (even with the limitations still existent): in 1989 the Bush (father) administration allied with other developed countries criticized the government Sarney for the Brazilian contribution to climate change coming from of the high deforestation in the Amazon; in 2001 the Cardoso administration allied with the developed countries criticized the Bush administration for the lack of a responsible attitude in relation to the global climate.



During the preparation of the Johannesburg Conference on Sustainable Development, Brazil was the leader in two major initiatives for the reduction of carbon emissions. The first initiative, in cooperation with the European Union, was to promote enough national ratifications of the Protocol (the Brazilian Senate ratified Kyoto very fast, far away from the traditional slow pace of international ratifications) in order to it become legally binding for the signing countries in August 2002. The second one was to get the support of the whole Latin America for an initiative establishing a goal for all the world countries to have at least 10% of their electricity produced by new renewable sources in 2010. In both initiatives Brazil was defeated.

During the 7th Conference of the Parts of the UNFCCC in New Delhi (October 2002), Brazil as leader of the G77 confronted the European Union in its attempt of settling commitments for developing countries for the period 2010-2020. In this confrontation the G77 received the support of the United States what revealed other face of the deep arena of the climate regime: emerging countries were favorable to Kyoto as far it didn't implied obligations for them but when the question of commitments for emergent countries appear there is a new trend in cleavages. From one side we see the formation of an alliance between the Annex 1 countries against Kyoto (USA, Australia and Russia) and emergent countries. From the other side, stand the pro-Kyoto alliance between the European Union and Japan. During the 8th Conference of the Parts in Milan in December 2003 it became clear that Russia would not ratify Kyoto. Russia has rejected Kyoto for four major reasons which combine business and geopolitics. First, it did so because the U.S. refused to ratify, thus hitting hard the value of emissions trading quotas. Russia stands to make much less from hot air trading than initially expected. Second, Moscow is fuming at the treaty exemptions India and China have received. The two demographic giants are among the bigger emitters and increasingly Russia's industrial competitors. Third, Russian smokestack industries are all standing to lose if the Kremlin signs Kyoto. Fourth, a strong sector of the elite opinion formers in Russia are suspecting that Kyoto has become a tool for the European bureaucracy to limit American and Russian economic growth, and reduce Russia to a raw materials appendage for Europe, especially as a giant natural gas supplier.

Once Russia showed reluctance to ratify the Protocol the Brazilian domestic arena became disoriented and started to disengage from the Protocol. The Lula administration, started in January 2003, establish a deep division inside the government, something that is usual in Brazilian governance due to the complexity of the federative arrangements (Viola 2003). The core of the Lula administration showed increased disengagement from the Kyoto Protocol, but the Ministry of the Environment tried to keep alive the Brazilian involvement with the Treaty. When in December 2003 it became clear that Russia would not ratify the Protocol and the Treaty would not be legally binding, the Brazilian environmental community looked for alternatives that would create opportunities for the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism beyond the legal Kyoto architecture.

The long term viability of the climate regime depends strongly on the engagement, in some kind of meaningful commitment, to improve the profile of their carbon emissions, by the most important carbon emitters (at present and in the next decades): USA, European Union, Japan, Canada, Australia, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and South Africa. The Brazilian stance will likely be very relevant in this respect since it is the best positioned among the key emerging countries for moving forward in the direction of assuming commitments. For that Brazil would have to reduce the deforestation in the Amazon, a goal that it would probably count with the support of the vast majority of the population. Likely, in order to be significant in the national carbon balance, deforestation in the Amazon should be reduced in around 70% of the present annual rate (from around 0.50% of the Amazonian forest to around 0.15%). Though there is strong support in public opinion for curving deforestation, it is difficult to assess how deep that support could go if there is a need of strong confrontation with the coalition of interests supporting deforestation in the Amazon. Because of the peculiarity of the Brazilian federative arrangements those interests are strongly represented in the Brazilian Congress. Consequently, a coalition for a more rational use of the Amazonian forest would have favorable impacts not just internally in Brazil, but also for the country gaining prestige - soft power- in the world, and, more generally, for international multilateral cooperation.



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Received in 10/4/2004 and accepted in 17/06/2004.



* Full Professor, Institute of International Relations, University of Brasilia, Brazil

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