Jair Bolsonaro, president-elect of Brazil.
Photo: Getty

The United Nations annual climate talks were set to take place in Brazil next year, but the new far-right administration has decided to back out.

The country’s foreign ministry apparently isn’t down with playing host to a bunch of environmentalists spewing their nonsense about saving the Amazon Rainforest and the rest of the world from global catastrophe. The ministry said it’s trying to save money, per the New York Times, but this move really has to do with Brazil’s new far-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro, who was elected president just last month. He plans to speed up our environmental destruction, and his soon-to-be cabinet is on board.

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This sucks for the United Nations, which has less than a year to find a new Latin American host for the 25th session of the Conference of Parties set to take place November 11 to 22, 2019. This gathering happens every year, but the meetings are more important than ever after the finalization of the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Bolsonaro, who plans to privatize the Amazon Rainforest and is seemingly happy to push the region’s 450,000 indigenous people off their lands, must be pleased. He originally wanted to withdraw Brazil from the Paris Agreement altogether, but he changed his mind, leaving the United States as the only country foolish enough to do that so far.

What’s a real bummer is that Brazil was once shaping up to be a climate champion. In 2009, the country announced a National Policy on Climate Change, years before we had a global agreement to rein in carbon. Right now, the Amazon needs more protection than ever as deforestation has increased by more than 13 percent in the last year. And environmental defenders are dying at alarmingly high rates, making it the most deadly country in the world for these protectors, according to a new report.

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This new president’s ignorant stance on the environment is unlikely to improve the situation. If no Latin American country steps up to take on the conference next year, the United Nations will move forward with having it in Germany, where the climate secretariat is seated.