The Domestic Politics of Global Climate Change

The Domestic Politics of Global Climate Change

Key Actors in International Climate Cooperation

New Horizons in Environmental Politics series

Edited by Guri Bang, Arild Underdal and Steinar Andresen

Why are some countries more willing and able than others to engage in climate change mitigation? The Domestic Politics of Global Climate Change compiles insights from experts in comparative politics and international relations to describe and explain climate policy trajectories of seven key actors: Brazil, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Using a common conceptual framework, the authors find that ambitious climate policy change is limited by stable material parameters and that governmental supply of mitigation policies meet (or even exceed) societal demand in most cases. Given the important roles that the seven actors play in addressing global climate change, the book’s in-depth comparative analysis will help readers assess the prospects for a new and more effective international climate agreement for 2020 and beyond.

Chapter 2: To be – or not to be – a low-carbon economy: a decade of climate politics in Brazil

Solveig Aamodt

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, international politics


As one of the first countries in the world to do so, Brazil adopted a comprehensive climate law in 2009. With specific mitigation targets, the law followed up the successful implementation of policies to reduce deforestation. Emissions from deforestation decreased by 75 per cent between 2004 and 2012, reducing Brazil’s aggregate emissions significantly. However, while deforestation has declined, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and energy have increased in the past decade and this growth is expected to increase at a faster rate after 2020, especially in the energy sector. This chapter analyses drivers and barriers to mitigation policy in different emission sectors in Brazil. Many low-carbon solutions are more profitable in Brazil than in many other countries, but concerns regarding energy security and food security constrain the prioritization of low-carbon solutions. Brazilian politicians feel little pressure to increase mitigation targets beyond what is achieved through reduced deforestation, and well-established interest groups in society prefer traditional solutions over low-carbon innovation. Current policy decisions have a large impact on Brazil’s post-2020 emission trajectories and this chapter assesses how the current political situation influences future mitigation possibilities.

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