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Cablegate: Secc Stern's Visit to Brazil Highlights Areas of Potential

VZCZCXRO8855
RR RUEHAST RUEHDH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHSL RUEHTM
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHBR #1059/01 2381329
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261329Z AUG 09 ZDK CTG #1042
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4934
INFO RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 4437
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 8105
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 9845
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001059

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/SECC, WHA-Shannon/Kelly/McMullen, WHA/BSC, OES/EGC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV KGHG BR
SUBJECT: SECC STERN'S VISIT TO BRAZIL HIGHLIGHTS AREAS OF POTENTIAL
COOPERATION IN THE LEAD UP TO COPENHAGEN

BRASILIA 00001059 001.4 OF 002

REF:

(U) THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED AND NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Special Envoy Todd Stern's visit to Brazil
provided a valuable opportunity for him to meet with a variety of
Brazilian counterparts and hear the range of views within Brazil
regarding the on-going climate change negotiations. Stern's
conversations highlighted a strong Brazilian interest in the
recently signed U.S. - China MOU; increasing the visibility of joint
cooperative efforts to confront this global problem; a subtle shift
in the GOB position on REDD and carbon offsets; and the need on the
part of the G-77 for strong signals of the developed world's
intentions. The conversations elaborated several points of
agreement and have created an opening for the USG to continue this
productive dialogue with a potentially valuable partner in the
UNFCCC negotiating process. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) From August 4th through 6th Special Envoy for Climate
Change Todd Stern visited Brazil to talk with a variety of
governmental and non-governmental interlocutors about the on-going
UNFCCC climate negotiations and the role that Brazil and the United
States can play in addressing the global challenge of combating
climate change. Special Envoy Stern held meetings in Brasilia and
Manaus followed by a press engagement in Sao Paulo.

3. (SBU) In all of his meetings, Special Envoy Stern praised
Brazilian efforts thus far and pointed out that confronting the
climate change problem presents an opportunity for Brazil, both
diplomatically and economically. He pointed out that Brazil's
clean, predominantly non-fossil fuel based energy matrix positions
it as a natural leader in this arena. He challenged his
governmental counterparts to continue their work on climate issues
and leverage their advantages to become global leaders on the issue.
Stern also stressed the importance of pragmatism; science-based
approaches to climate change mitigation; emissions reductions for
developed nations; reduction in emissions growth for developing
nations; financing; and verification in reaching a successful
conclusion in Copenhagen.

GREAT INTEREST IN THE U.S. - CHINA MOU

4. (SBU) Many of Stern's governmental interlocutors expressed great
interest in the recently signed U.S. - China memorandum of
understanding (MOU) to enhance cooperation on climate change,
energy, and the environment. Both the Minister of the Environment,
Carlos Minc, and the Minister of External Relations, Celso Amorim,
asked Stern if and when the United States would consider signing a
similar MOU with the government of Brazil (GOB). Amorim even asked
his staff to draft sample language of such an agreement for Stern to
review. The Governor of Amazonas, Eduardo Braga, also commented
that the MOU generated interest among the states within the
Brazilian Amazon.

5. (SBU) In each case, Stern welcomed the Brazilian desire to work
closer with the United States in confronting global climate change.
He commented that an MOU similar to that signed with China could be
a good start.

INCREASING VISIBILITY AND ENGAGEMENT

6. (SBU) Beyond discussion of the U.S. - China MOU, Stern's
counterparts repeatedly expressed an interest on the part of the GOB
to become further involved in the on-going climate discourse in a
visible way. Minc suggested that the United States and Brazil host
a ministerial-level meeting of their Common Agenda for the
Environment (CAE) in September, with a specific focus on climate
change. (NOTE: There is no indication that Minc coordinated this
plan with the Ministry of External Relations, the Brazilian lead on
the CAE. END NOTE.) Amorim also expressed an interest in hosting a
meeting in Brasilia as part of the on-going climate discussions. He
suggested that the Major Economies Forum (MEF) format was too
limited, but that perhaps they could host a MEF-plus meeting that
would include greater participation by African and island nations.
Amorim also commented that it is key not only that the United States
and Brazil work together, but that they be "seen" working together
on the issue. For this reason he asked Stern to participate in a
press conference on August 6th with Undersecretary Vera Machado and
Division Head Luiz Figueredo Machado. Stern complied with this
suggestion.

REDD AND OFFSETS

7. (SBU) During the visit many GOB officials, and other players with

BRASILIA 00001059 002.2 OF 002


significant political insight, indicated that the GOB's view on
REDD, carbon offsets, and climate change more broadly is shifting.
They pointed to Lula's apparent decision to create a Secretariat for
Carbon Credits within the executive office of the President as the
strongest sign of this shift. Officials from the Ministry of the
Environment and from Governor Braga's office also commented that
they have recently noticed that the concept is being more widely
accepted in inter-ministerial or federal-state conversations. Braga
believes that he has seen definitive political signaling that
President Lula has decided to become personally involved in the
issue and may have already decided the direction in which he wishes
the government's policy to move. Braga attributed this change to
the pressure that the governors of the Brazilian Amazon have placed
on President Lula. Vice-Minister of the Environment, Izabella
Teixeira, concurred that the efforts of the governors have been
important, but also believes climate change is becoming increasingly
important to Lula as a legacy issue, and to his Chief of Staff,
Dilma Rousseff, as she prepares to run for President in 2010.

8. (SBU) Despite the widely held perception of increased acceptance
for REDD and Carbon Offsets, some concerns still persist. Rousseff
noted that due the complexity of the issue and the need for strong
commitments by all parties, she still advocated caution in
determining the role that offsets would play in a final climate
agreement. She and Amorim emphasized that financial transfers could
not buy consensus and should not become the focus of the
negotiations; rather climate change mitigation should remain the
true focus, with financial transfers and considerations being one of
the many aspects involved.

THE NEED FOR STRONG SIGNALS FROM DEVELOPED NATIONS

9. (SBU) Another common topic of conversation with Brazilian
counterparts, including Minc, Amorim, Braga, and NGO leaders, was
the need for strong and credible signals from the developed nations.
Specifically, the felt that developed nations would need to both
commit to ambitious targets and goals, and demonstrate that they
intend to keep these commitments. The signals that were suggested
varied from firm financial commitments to the developing world for
climate change mitigation to strong and verifiable mid-term goals
that the developed nations could be measured against. In all cases,
the key element was that without these signals the developing world,
and specifically the G-77, would feel that they were being asked to
potentially curb their economic growth while the developed world is
allowed to continue apace without any meaningful sacrifice.

10. (SBU) GOB representatives also repeated that Brazil would not be
willing to break with the G-77 in the climate discussion, but that
Brazil could play a crucial role as a bridge between the G-77 and
the developed nations.

COMMENT

11. (SBU) While there was no singular breakthrough in the climate
debate during Special Envoy Stern's visit, it is clear that policy
space exists within which Brazil and the United States can
constructively work together toward a successful conclusion in
Copenhagen. The face-to-face conversations that occurred during
this visit helped to strengthen the on-going cooperation between our
two countries. The USG is now presented with the opportunity to
continue to work closely with a potentially valuable partner in the
UNFCCC climate negotiations process. However, to take advantage of
this opportunity the USG must continue these productive dialogues,
both at a technical and political-level. By building upon the
common ground identified, while also addressing the GOB's concerns
regarding developed nation commitment and continued economic
development, the two countries could cooperatively push the climate
negotiations to the next level.

KUBISKE

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