1st Edition

Brazil and Climate Change Beyond the Amazon

By Viola Eduardo, Matías Franchini Copyright 2018
    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    Climate change is increasingly a part of the human experience. As the problem worsens, the cooperative dilemma that the issue carries has become evident: climate change is a complex problem that systematically gets insufficient answers from the international system.

    This book offers an assessment of Brazil’s role in the global political economy of climate change. The authors, Eduardo Viola and Matías Franchini expertly review and answer the most common and widely cited questions on whether and in which way Brazil is aggravating or mitigating the climate crisis, including: Is it the benign, cooperative, environmental power that the Brazilian government claims it is? Why was it possible to dramatically reduce deforestation in the Amazon (2005-2010) and, more recently, was there a partial reversion? 

    The book provides an accessible—and much needed—introduction to all those studying the challenges of the international system in the Anthropocene. Through a thorough analysis of Brazil in perspective vis a vis other emerging countries, this book provides an engaging introduction and up to date assessment of the climate reality of Brazil and a framework to analyze the climate performance of major economies, both on emission trajectory and policy profile: the climate commitment approach. Brazil and Climate Change is essential reading for all students of Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies, International Relations and Comparative Politics.


    1. Climate Change and International Relations: Empirical and Theoretical Assessment

    1.1 Introduction

    1.2 The Aggravation of the Climate Crisis: Temperature Rise, Extreme Weather Events, Renewable Revolution and, the Emerging of the Geoengineering Option

    1.2.1 Unavoidable Dangerous Climate Change? Temperature Rise and Extreme Weather Events (2015-2017)

    1.2.2 Mitigation Path: The Renewables Revolution

    1.2.3 Geoengineering: Emerging Option in the Scientific Community

    1.3 The Paris Accord and the Rise of Climate Powers

    1.3.1 Understanding Global Climate Governance: Climate Powers and Climate Commitment

    1.3.2 The Rise of Populist Neo-Nationalism and the Climate Crisis

    1.4 The Climate Commitment Approach (CCA)

    1.5 The Drivers of Climate Commitment

    1.5.1 Drivers in the Literature

    1.5.2 The Brazilian Case

    1.6 Final Considerations

    2. Brazil in the International System: Underachieving (Environmental) Power and the Leadership Myth

    2.1 Introduction

    2.2 Brazil in the Global Carbon Cycle and the Planetary Boundaries

    2.3 Brazil in the International System: Economy, Democracy, and Foreign Policy

    2.3.1 Economy: Big Emerging, Low-Growth, and Low-Competitiveness Player

    2.3.2 Democracy and Political Regime: Fragmentation, Public Distrust, Corruption, and Social Unrest

    2.3.3 International Insertion: Between the Western Democracies and the BRICS

    2.4 Final Considerations

    3. The Beginning: Brazil, the Climate Villain

    3.1 Introduction

    3.2 Emission Profile 1: Giant Irrational Deforestation

    3.2.1. Deforestation in Brazilian Mindset and History: Araucaria Temperate Forest, Atlantic tropical Forest, and Cerrado Savanah

    3.2.2. Deforestation in the Amazon: Economic and Political Drivers

    3.2.3. The Rise of Agriculture

    3.2.4. Energy Trends: The Decline of the Renewables

    3.3 Domestic Climate Policy Profile 1: The Lack of Actions

    3.4 Foreign Climate Policy Profile 1: A World Divided by Income: The Brazilian Contribution to the Climate Convention? (1992-2005)

    3.4.1 The Origins of Brazilian Position on Climate Change and Rio 92

    3.4.2 The Kyoto Protocol

    3.5 Final Considerations: Low Climate Commitment, Amazon Disorders, and Strong Conservative Forces

    4. The Rising: Brazil, the Developing Climate Leader?

    4.1 Introduction

    4.2 Emission Profile 2: Deforestation Control and Drastic Declining

    4.2.1 Deforestation in the Amazon: Braking the Iron and Fire Path

    4.2.2 Ambiguous Trends in the Energy Sector: Hydro, Ethanol, and Fossilization

    4.2.3. Agriculture: Increasing Production and Efficiency

    4.3 Domestic Climate Policy Profile 2: Rapid and Intense Change

    4.3.1 Domestic Policies on Climate Mitigation

    4.4 Foreign Climate Policy Profile 2: The Transition to Moderation and Activism

    4.5 The Forces Behind Brazilian Climate Activism

    4.6 Final Considerations: Medium Climate Commitment, Overcoming the Amazon Disorders, and the Rise of Reformist Forces

    5. The Decline: Brazil, the Climate Negligent

    5.1 Introduction

    5.2 Emission Profile 3: The Return of High Emissions

    5.2.1 Deforestation Makes a Come Back

    5.2.2 Further Fossilization of the Energy Matrix

    5.2.3 Agriculture: Emission Efficiency in the Ground, Conservative Movements in Politics

    5.3 Domestic Climate Policy Profile 3: Stagnation and Retraction

    5.4 Foreign Climate Policy Profile 3: The Conservative Set-Back

    5.5 The Drivers of the Decline

    5.6 The Temer’s Administration: New Economic Policy, Old Conservative Persistence

    5.7 Final Considerations: Low Climate Commitment, Amazon Neglect, and the Rise of Conservative Forces

    6. The Future: Brazil and the Bases for a True Environmental/Climate Leadership

    6.1 Summarizing the Three Periods

    6.1.1 The Sources of Climate Commitment

    6.2 The Future of Climate Commitment in Brazil: Dealing with the Amazon Neglect

    6.2.1 The Future of the Emission Profile: The Key Amazon Forest

    6.2.2 The Future of Domestic Climate Policy

    6.2.3 The Future of Foreign Climate Policy

    6.3 The Drivers of Climate Commitment in the Coming Years

    6.4 The Bases for a True Brazilian Climate Leadership: Democracy, Economy, and International Insertion

    6.4.1 Foreign Policy, the Manifest Destiny, Democracy, and the Rise and Fall of the Climate Myth

    6.4.2 The Bases for a Realistic Brazilian Climate/Environmental Leadership: A Proposal


    Eduardo Viola is Full Professor of International Relations at the University of Brasilia, Senior Researcher at the Brazilian Council for Scientific Development and Coordinator of the Research Group of the International System in the Anthropocene. He has been a visiting professor at several universities, among them Stanford, Amsterdam, Notre Dame and Colorado. He is a member of several international scientific committees and the author of 8 books and more than 90 peer reviewed articles. His main areas of research are: Globalization and Governance; International System in the Anthropocene; International Political Economy of Energy/Climate Change; and Brazilian Foreign Policy.

    Matías Franchini is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of International Relations at the University of Brasilia and a member of the International System in the Anthropocene and Climate Change Research Program. He was a visiting researcher at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University. He holds a PhD. in International Relations from the University of Brasilia. He is the author of several publications in the areas of Global Governance, Latin American Studies and International Politics of Climate Change.



    'Throughout much of his distinguished academic career, Eduardo Viola has been one of the global pioneers in studying the politics of climate change. In Brazil and Climate Change, Viola teams up with Matías Franchini to produce a major book on one of the world’s most important countries and one of its most important issues.' - Scott Mainwaring, Harvard University

    'In this landmark book, Eduardo Viola and Matías Franchini show convincingly that a country’s climate action commitment goes well beyond its participation in international negotiations, touching its whole political economy. The book offers an analytical framework that is useful for comparative analysis of the climate action of countries around the world, as well as providing significant new information and insight on the changing political economy of Brazil's climate commitment.' - Kathryn Hochstetler, London School of Economics and Political Science

    'Which is the 'real' Brazil? In this book, Eduardo Viola and Matias Francini 'discard any possibility' of answering that question through a parsimonous portrait. Instead they offer a fascinatingly rich analysis of emission and policy profiles as, at best, partly connected domains, and of Brazil's contributions to global climate regime-building as products of complex two-level games.' - Arild Underdal, University of Oslo and CICERO