« We need to invest in the fight against the climate crisis as we are doing in the war in Ukraine »

John Kerry, sent to Brasília by Joe Biden to talk about Amazonia and climate, acknowledged that it was easier to convince the U.S. Congress to release resources for the war in Ukraine than to tackle the climate crisis. He said that the climate crisis and the challenges of the Amazon are inescapable for all humanity.

His visit to Brazil was marked by the expectation of a possible announcement of additional resources for the Amazon Fund, which finances measures to combat deforestation. Earlier this month, the Americans pledged a donation to the Amazon Fund. Officially, the donation has not yet been revealed, but sources within the U.S. government told BBC News Brazil that the amount would reach $50 million. Although this is the first U.S. contribution to the fund, the amount is considered low by environmentalists who take into account the size of the U.S. economy and the fact that the country is the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China.

The expectation of more money, however, did not materialize and a second announcement of resources did not come.

While in Brazil, Joe Biden’s special climate envoy spoke with several journalists, including a team from BBC News Brazil. Some excerpts: The $50 million that the president (Biden) announced during a visit to Washington was simply an advance available funds”. 

“In our system of government, like here in Brazil, you have to be able to get approval from Congress. And now there are projects (on the subject) in Congress (…).

 Two senators, one Republican and one Democrat, have proposed $4 billion. In the House, there was a $9 billion proposal. And that will have to go through the legislative process. It’s a struggle and there is no certainty of approval.”

Asked if the U.S. plans to give more money to Brazil or the Amazon Fund shortly, he said, “Yes, we will raise the money we think is necessary and we will agree with Brazil. We are not doing this unilaterally. It is up to Brazil to make its choices. This is Brazil’s forest. It is a Brazilian decision. But we will work as closely as we can with Brazil and we will fight for the money that we think is necessary to make this happen.”

“The United States and the international community often mobilize money, and you can mobilize money from other sources. If you can’t get Congress to approve (the release of funds), you still have ways to raise money in the marketplace, in the private sector, in philanthropy and in the multilateral development banks.”

It only remains to be done…