Brazil’s environment minister ridicules climate talks with image of steak dinner

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Kate Ng
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Brazil's environment minister, Ricardo Salles, posted a photo of steak with the caption: "To compensate for our carbon emissions at COP, a vegetarian lunch!": Ricardo Salles
Brazil's environment minister, Ricardo Salles, posted a photo of steak with the caption: "To compensate for our carbon emissions at COP, a vegetarian lunch!": Ricardo Salles

Brazil’s environment minister Ricardo Salles has taunted COP25 climate talks with a photo of a large steak after President Jair Bolsonaro dismissed them as a “commercial game”.

Mr Salles tweeted the photo with the caption: “To compensate for our emissions at COP, a vegetarian lunch!”

Prior to posting the photo, he criticised “rich countries” in attendance of the UN COP25 Climate Change Conference for their lack of progress on carbon markets, a system established by the Paris Agreement.

Brazil is one of several countries that want to count emissions cuts achieved by offsetting carbon credits to another country as a boost for their own climate targets.

Carbon offsetting allows a country to fund emission reductions in another country to help reach its own reduction targets.

The practice, known as ‘double counting’, was countered by other countries who say it would undermine the entire market.

Mr Bolsonaro told reporters: “I don’t know why people don’t understand that it’s just a commercial game.

“I’d like to know: has there been a resolution for Europe to be reforested, or are they just going to keep bothering Brazil?”

The recent COP25 talks were widely judged to have been a “disappointment”, as countries failed to agree on a number of issues, including new rules regarding the carbon market.

A staunch climate change sceptic, Mr Bolsonaro has been criticised for dismantling regulation and environmental and Amazon protections since his first day in office.

Brazil is the world’s top beef exporter, an industry that drives illegal deforestation caused by cattle farmers who want to convert the Amazon rainforest into pasture to feed their herds.

This year, the Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires fuelled by cattle ranchers, resulting in irreparable damage of a natural resource and the deaths of indigenous forest activists.

Mr Bolsonaro dismissed concerns about the destruction of the rainforests and said: “I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame.”

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