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The green economy in the G-20, post-Mexico: implications for Brazil

Co-ordination among the BRICS countries concerning the green economy agenda within the G-20 is almost nonexistent. Nevertheless, Brazilian authorities seek to maintain some co-ordination with the other BRICS members, even if the main purpose is to avoid the adoption of those commitments and mandates that can potentially cause discomfort to some of them.

The paper discusses the impact of the green growth agenda on the Brazilian economy, domestic policies, the strategies related to the country’s participation in the G-20 and Brazil’s articulations with the other BRICS members. The paper describes the evolution of the debate on sustainable development and the green economy in Brazil, and the
main policy trade-offs as perceived by the policymakers and stakeholders. It also includes a brief presentation of the main features of domestic policies related to the green growth agenda, with an emphasis on industrial and energy policies.

The authors conclude that Brazilian challenges do not arise from a shortage of funds. They come from the priorities directing domestic industrial policies, which do not focus on green economy projects,
but rather on the expansion of the domestic industrial base, with lax criteria for green innovation and energy efficiency conditionalities for accessing fiscal and credit benefits.

An abundance of natural resources creates an unequivocal advantage for Brazil in the green economy agenda vis-à-vis its partners in the BRICS coalition, but this advantage is being watered down by the domestic preference for development policies. Domestic preferences help to explain why Brazil maintains its alliances with developing countries that face more even more difficulties with respect to cleaning their energy matrixes or adopting policy reforms towards a green economy.