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Stimulating Brazil’s Bioeconomy

Building a durable Brazilian bioeconomy will require strategic links between key actors, embedded in robust, functioning institutions. By establishing a firm institutional foundation of “virtuous incentives,” the country can offer the world an innovative new agricultural model to help tackle climate change.

SÃO PAULO – In the midst of the growing climate crisis, the world can no longer rely solely on old models of economic development. In this context, the concept of a bioeconomy – activities that produce relatively little carbon, using high-value-added processes – is gaining increasing prominence. But governments and civil-society actors face differing institutional and economic obstacles on the path to a true bioeconomy.

Given historical and current global energy-consumption trends, some European and North American countries have taken seriously the goal of developing renewable energy sources. On the other hand, some countries in the Global South, where agriculture represents the main source of greenhouse-gas emissions and biodiversity loss, face the challenge of establishing a bioeconomy based on new agricultural models.

In this regard, Brazil has a central part to play in mitigating the effects of climate change, in particular by conserving the rich biodiversity contained in the six vast biomes spanning its territory. These include the largest portion of the Amazon rainforest, which plays a crucial role in stabilizing global rainfall cycles and producing oxygen, among other benefits. With the rate of deforestation in the Amazon reaching alarming levels in 2019, as well as during the current COVID-19 pandemic, a major systemic risk to the global climate balance is becoming clear.

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