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Brazil's Bolsonaro dismisses COP25 'game'

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic, on Sunday dismissed as a "commercial game" the result of the COP25 climate talks in Madrid.

He particularly singled out rich European nations as the players.

Brazil was meant to host this year's global climate meeting but withdrew its offer more than a year ago, citing financial restrictions shortly after Bolsonaro's election.

"I don't know why people don't understand that it's just a commercial game," Bolsonaro told reporters outside his official residence.

Blaming wealthy countries, he said, "I'd like to know: has there been a resolution for Europe to be reforested, or are they just going to keep bothering Brazil?"

Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for easing restrictions on exploiting the Amazon's vast riches, leading to accelerated deforestation.

Brazil's Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, who participated in COP25, also criticized its results.

On Twitter, he said, "Rich countries did not want to pay up."

Salles particularly regretted a lack of progress on carbon markets.

Brazil and Australia are among the countries that want to count carbon credits accumulated under a previous climate deal as part of their commitments under the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

Discussions over markets ended in an impasse Sunday, and the issue will be handed over to next year's COP26 in Glasgow.

"Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of Brazil, a protectionist vision took hold, and Brazil and other countries that could provide carbon credits because of their forests and good environmental practices came out losers," Salles said.

Several hours later, the minister posted a provocative tweet with a photo of a large platter of meat.

"To compensate for our emissions at COP, a vegetarian lunch!" the accompanying text said.

Brazil is the world's number one beef exporter, and deforestation is often caused by breeders who want to transform the Amazonian jungle to feed their herds.

COP25 brought negotiators from nearly 200 nations to Spain's capital with the aim of finalizing the rulebook for the 2015 Paris accord, which enjoins nations to limit the global temperature increase to below two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit).

Following a year of deadly extreme weather and weekly protests by millions of young people, Madrid negotiators were under pressure to send a clear signal that governments were willing to intensify their efforts.

The compromises reached fell well short of what science says is needed to tackle the climate crisis, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lamented a "lost opportunity."

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