Weekly wrap: Brazil’s climate chief axed in government reshuffle

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Izabella Teixeira served as Brazil's environment minister under ousted president Dilma Rousseff (Pic: Senado Federal/Flickr)


Brazil is in turmoil after the senate voted to impeach president Dilma Rousseff this week over alleged fiddling of government accounts.

Taking the reins, interim premier Michel Temer declared restoring the South American giant’s economic credibility his top priority.

Green groups fear he is taking advantage of the crisis to trash green laws, Jan Rocha reported from Sao Paulo.

There is no place for environment minister Izabella Teixeira, who played a key role in forging the Paris Agreement, in Temer’s new all-male, all-white cabinet. Soya tycoon Blairo Maggi, behind the controversial bonfire of environmental regulations, gets the agricultural brief.

Amid the upheaval, former negotiator Natalie Unterstell pointed out Brazil’s climate targets are based on flawed data and called for an urgent review.

President Duterte

The Philippines also has a change of leader, voting in Rodrigo Duterte on a crime-busting ticket.

It comes as the country’s climate body urges the energy department to cap coal power generation, reported Purple Romero from Manila.

Don’t hold your breath, though – Duterte has previously hit out at “hypocritical” requests for developing countries to curb their emissions.

Number of the week

1,010 – Pension funds urged by their members to vote for climate resolutions at ExxonMobil and Chevron AGMs on 25 May

Climate Home’s Ed King has been in Paris for the “SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: IT’S TIME!” [the clue is in the name] conference, hosted by think tank IDDRI.

Catch his interviews with new UN environment chief Erik Solheim, IRENA’s Adnan Amin and Philippe Desfosses of France’s top public pension fund.

He also put Poland’s struggle with coal under the microscope, looking at what it means for EU claims to climate leadership.

Quote of the week

“I want to inspire. If people are inspired they will work hard and well”Erik Solheim, incoming head of the UN Environment Programme

In an oil company first, Shell this week outlined an energy future compatible with holding global warming below 2C.

The firm maintains that is only possible with “optimistic” assumptions and has “no immediate plans” to decarbonise its investments. Still, it is a sign the industry can no longer dismiss climate goals, amid shareholder campaigns to boost disclosure.

All the more surprising, then, that the US Energy Information Administration did not consider a 2C scenario in its latest energy outlook.

It predicted carbon budget-busting emissions growth, arguing it was too complicated to incorporate all the ambition of the Paris Agreement into the models.

Flight path

Negotiators in Montreal are trying to knock a carbon offsetting scheme for aviation into shape, ready to sign off at a September summit.

Ahead of the meeting, China and the US set out different ideas about the fair way to divide responsibility. Climate advocates warned draft proposals exempted some 40% of airline emissions.

A new text produced on Thursday evening appears to reduce coverage of the scheme further, according to WWF’s James Beard. He welcomed stronger language on offset quality criteria and reviewing the scheme in line with science, however.

We will have further analysis after the talks finish on Friday.

Ratification watch

Hungary has started the parliamentary process to ratify the Paris Agreement, reported Hungary Today.

“Let us be an ally of future generations,” President Janos Ader urged lawmakers.

And finally…

The spiral that went viral. A striking animation by UK climate scientist Ed Hawkins, showing how temperatures have risen alarmingly since 1850, took the internet by storm.

Twitter was less impressed by the comments of Hoesung Lee, head of the UN’s climate science panel, on improving communications. Lee told Climate Home: “The scientific message is a scientific message… we do not want to dumb down.”

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