Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand and Eva Lövbrand

The 2009 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen is often represented as a watershed in global climate politics, when the diplomatic efforts to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol failed and was replaced by a fragmented and decentralized climate governance order. In the post-Copenhagen landscape the top-down universal approach to climate governance has gradually given way to a more complex, hybrid and dispersed political landscape involving multiple actors, arenas and sites. The Handbook contains contributions from more than 50 internationally leading scholars and explores the latest trends and theoretical developments of the climate governance scholarship.

Chapter 21: Brazil

Eduardo Viola and Kathryn Hochstetler

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation


Brazil has been a major figure in global climate politics since it hosted the 1992 Rio conference where the first international climate action agreement was signed. Recently, its rising emissions and alliance with other emerging powers in the negotiations have helped to make it even more central. In this chapter, we argue that Brazil’s domestic climate politics is central to its participation in international climate negotiations. We show how a multi-faceted coalition of ‘Baptists and bootleggers’ grew inside Brazil through the 2000s, resulting in significant new acceptance of climate action at the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010. Brazil passed a national climate law and made its first international pledge to reduce emissions at the time of the international negotiations in Copenhagen. Since then, however, the coalition has fragmented, and Brazil has retreated. The national climate law is being implemented only partially and very slowly, as emissions have ticked up. This does not mean that Brazilian climate positions are exactly back to where they were a decade ago, but they show that gains in climate action cannot be assumed to be linear and locked-in.

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