For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Rubens Born, Interim Latin America Team Leader,, tel: + 55.41.3240.1160
Hoda Baraka, Global Communications Director,, +20100.184.0990

New Brazilian Government Must Uphold Climate Commitments and Safeguard Human Rights

A warming planet will be deadly for many in Brazil

GLOBAL - Today, after a polarising electoral campaign that promoted hatred and division, candidate Jair Bolsonaro won the runoff for the presidency of Brazil.

Bolsonaro had vowed to withdraw the country from the Paris Agreement but retracted that proposal days before the election. However, he has indicated he will weaken the form and enforcement of Brazil’s climate policies, including allowing the development of fracking in Brazil.

He has said he will loosen regulation protecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights and will not allow one square centimetre more to be managed by Indigenous Peoples. He has also stated he wants to restrict NGOs and civil society activism, including by restricting rights to public protest and other forms of democratic participation.

Brazil’s Paris commitment is to reduce emissions by 37% on 2005 by 2025 by increasing zero carbon energy, promoting reforestation, and stopping illegal logging, particularly in the Amazon.

May Boeve, Executive Director, released the following statement:

“The election of far-right candidate Bolsonaro to the highest office in Brazil represents a real threat to human rights at home and a risk to the momentum for climate action abroad. Brazil’s Paris commitment is of global significance, and any retreat from it would be deeply concerning. If Brazil steps back from the content of its commitment on forest protection and switching to zero-carbon fuels it could unravel the progress made on climate action in recent years, and would be deeply unpopular and dangerous.


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The right of Brazilians to protest and to hold their elected representatives to account on environmental, or any issue, must be respected and protected. Brazil has a leadership role to play in protecting and uplifting Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and has committed to reach zero deforestation by 2030 and restore forests by 12 millions hectares, among other goals. Brazilians do not want to abdicate that leadership.  

85% of Brazilians are concerned about climate change [1], they know they are in fact one of the countries most vulnerable to ever-increasing climate impacts, and they want more action; not less. Mr. Bolsonaro must work in the interest of all Brazilians, including Indigenous Peoples whose rights to their ancestral land continue to be challenged, but who hold extraordinarily valuable traditional knowledge on how we can live sustainably on this shared planet.

A warming planet will be deadly for many in Brazil. The poorest will be the hardest hit by unchecked climate change. Poor and vulnerable communities in Brazil also suffer most from the activities that drive climate change -  like fossil fuel extraction, fracking, and deforestation. These people must be at the forefront of the mind of the new President.

For our part, we will keep promoting civic engagement and grassroots organizing to stop fossil fuels and to support a rapid and just transition powered by renewable energy. We will keep the need for Brazilian leadership on climate on the national and global agenda.

We will be resilient. Our team in Brazil is resilient and will support and engage all people who are committed to defending human rights and a safe and healthy environment. In this climate we must all be resilient."

[1] Climate Scorecard Report #15, November 2017


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