Brazil at COP26: Political and Scientific Disputes Under a Post-Truth Government
Global climate negotiations were again in the spotlight at Glasgow’s COP26 meeting in November 2021, drawing attention to the urgency of the climate crisis and to the need to find long term solutions. While Brazil has been a protagonist of such negotiations for decades, since 2019 the country has abdicated its leadership role, adopting a reactive stance to the environmental agenda. This shift is illustrative of the centrality of scientific disputes in government projects in conflict in Brazil. Since the election of Jair Bolsonaro, attacks on science have gained strength and institutionalized a position largely critical to existing scientific consensus about climate and the environment in the government. Together with the dismantling of Brazil’s environmental regulations—put in place also by the Bolsonaro government—those attacks on science have strained both its local capacities to curb deforestation (the source of most of the country’s emissions) and deepened inequalities and injustices ingrained in Brazilian society. In summary, we argue that STS can participate in finding a way out of the current political and social crisis and resisting the dismantling of a once robust environmental governance framework by unpacking the centrality of scientific production in disputes over climate and the environment.
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