i. Climate change context
The Federative Republic of Brazil, located in Latin America, is divided into five political–administrative regions: North, Northeast, Central West, South, and Southeast. According to Brazil’s 4th National Communication (2020), the country has 27 states, including the Federal District, and 5570 municipalities. Brazil has climate change communication and education documents at national and state levels. This report provides information on Brazil’s approach to mainstreaming climate change communication and education on the national level. The report gives examples of state-level initiatives only when relevant and reported in official communications.
Brazil is home to around 214 million people (2021). According to the World Bank, Brazil’s territory is the fifth-largest in the world at 8,510,295 km2, making it the largest country in South America. Brazil includes diverse climate regions: Equatorial (North), Tropical (most of the territory), Semi-arid (Northeast), Tropical of Altitude (Southeast), and Subtropical (South).
As per the 4th National Communication (2020), Brazil has preserved 84% of the Amazon and about 30% of the territory is protected areas. The main extreme climate situations in Brazil are related to excess or shortage of water, making the country vulnerable to floods and droughts. The World Bank mentions related hazards such as landslides and epidemics. The lowland areas of the Amazon delta are vulnerable to sea-level rise and storm surges.
According to the Global Carbon Atlas (2020), Brazil is a low-to medium-emitting country that emits 2.0 t CO2 per person. The 4th National Communication (2020) notes that Brazil’s emissions come mainly from the energy sector, industrial processes, the agriculture sector, land use, forestry, and the waste sector.
Brazil held the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and joined the Framework as a Non-Annex I party. Brazil has signed and ratified all climate change agreements, including the Kyoto Protocol in 2002, the Paris Agreement in 2016, and the Doha Amendment in 2018. In addition, in 2018 the government was a negotiator for and signed the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Affairs in Latin America and the Caribbean (the Escazu Agreement).
The Government of Brazil has not declared a climate emergency at the national level, but some local jurisdictions have declared one, including the fourth largest city in the country, Recife (2019), and the municipality of São Sepé (2021) in the State of Rio Grande do Sul.
The Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, with legislation in 2018–2022, was criticized for reversing policies on environmental conservation and climate change themes achieved in previous years, such as land use, Indigenous reserve areas, and deforestation, which have reached exorbitant records since the president arrived to the government. Bolsonaro also considered abolishing the Ministry of Environment and withdrawing Brazil from the Paris Agreement. Different stakeholders have spoken out on this, including former ministers who published a joint declaration against Bolsonaro in 2019. In July 2020, 17 former Ministers of Finance and Central Bank presidents published a letter calling for changes in Brazil’s environmental policies, arguing that Brazil must rebuild its economic policies to include climate considerations and seeking a sustainable, social and environmental responsibility. Added to this, movements lead by NGOs and youth groups have also raised their voice in terms of climate change. At the time of this review, Brazil had not left the Paris Agreement, but rather recognized it as the first county as a human rights treaty.
ii. Relevant government agencies
The Ministry of Environment, created in 1992, is the federal ministry authorized to formulate and implement environmental policies related to preservation and sustainable use of ecosystems, biodiversity, Brazilian territories and use of natural resources. The Ministry is also responsible for combating climate change, including adaptation and mitigation perspectives. At the time of this report, Brazil had no National ACE-Focal Point.
Attached to the Ministry of Environment, the federal Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources was established in 1989. The Institute supports development and implementation of public environmental policies to protect the environment and promote sustainable socio-economic development. The Institute has played an important role in environmental law-enforcement. In addition, the Institute fosters the generation and dissemination of environmental knowledge.
Brazil strengthened the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change and Green Growth in 2021 with Law 10,845 (revoking Decree No. 10,145 of November 28, 2019). The Committee was created in 1999, with two amendments since. It includes a ministerial council and a technical commission and is chaired by the Minister of Environment. The Committee is empowered to articulate and coordinate Brazil’s climate change actions and policies. It aims to mainstream climate change guidelines across public institutions, plans, and projects through its climate consulting function. The Technical Commission of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change and Green Growth is a consultative body of representatives from the Civil House and the Ministries of Environment, Foreign Affairs, Economy, Infrastructure, Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Mines and Energy, Science, Technology and Innovations, Regional Development, and Labor and Social Security, in addition to the Government Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic.
Under the scope of the Ministry of Environment and coordination from the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change and Green Growth, the Executive Group on Climate Change is in charge of developing, implementing, and assessing the national climate change program and articulating related policies in Brazil.
The Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovations and its decentralized body for General Coordination of Climate Science and Sustainability collaborate to elaborate Brazil’s National Communications and Biennial Update Reports. The Ministry is also responsible for updating the National Emissions Registry System.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply has a vital role in agricultural policies such as land-use guidelines, crop plans, sustainable development, emissions control, and climate change plans. According to the 4th National Communication, multiple secretariats work on climate change within Ministry scope, including the Secretariat for Innovation, Rural Development, and Irrigation, which plans, advises, coordinates, enforces, and assesses activities related to climate change impacts. The Department of Sustainable Production and Irrigation proposes and implements plans, projects, and activities to adapt and mitigate climate change impacts.
In Brazil, the Ministry of Mines and Energy supports climate change matters through developing and assessing policies on geology, use of water by mines, and plans for energy sectors, among others. The Ministry also supports national policies for sustainability and economic, social, and environmental development of electrical, energy and mineral resources. This Ministry works in parallel with the Ministry of Environment for strategic environmental assessments.
The Ministry of Economy was created in 2019 with the merger of previous ministries. This Ministry prepares, implements, and assesses national strategic planning and long-term public policies aimed at national development. The former Ministry of Planning, Development, and Management included Sustainable Development Goal objectives such as environmental and climate change initiatives in official plans and documents. The Ministry of Economy maintains similar goals for Brazil’s development.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages communication and agreements with multinational countries and organizations. The Ministry works on international cooperation, culture and education, environment, sustainable development, and climate change matters.
Brazil is home to about 900,000 Indigenous people, and according to the Indigenous People in Brazil 324,834 Indigenous live in the city and 572,083 in rural areas, which represents approximately 0.47% of the country’s total population. Indigenous groups are highly vulnerable to climate change due to their socio-economic situation and living environments. To attend to their needs, Brazil has created different organizations. For instance the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (2005) aims to ensure the rights of Indigenous populations, providing them with capacity building, and facilitate ways to achieve their goals, including in climate change matters. The Indigenous Committee on Climate Change is an Indigenous movement in Brazil that follows debates on climate change nationally and internally to dialogue with the government and ensure Indigenous matters related to climate change are effectively considered.
The Brazilian Forum on Climate Change (2000, amended in 2017; Decree 9082) is chaired by the President of Brazil and is supported by private and public stakeholders, including the heads of the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Education. The Forum’s objective is to raise awareness and mobilize society to discuss and make decisions about the impacts of climate change.
As an instrument of the National Policy on Climate Change (2009), the National Climate Change Fund is attached to the Ministry of Environment. The National Fund collaborates in financing projects, studies, and commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The Amazon Fund is a REDD+ mechanism to raise donations for conservation projects in the Amazon. The Fund is coordinated by the National Development Bank, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Economy. It supports management of public forests and protected areas, reforestation, environmental monitoring, sustainable forest management, agricultural regulation, preservation of biodiversity, and sustainable economic activities.
Brazil has significant activist movements on climate change. Organizations have consolidated to cooperate at different levels. For instance, the Brazil Climate Center (2015) is a think tank that acts to influence climate change policies in Brazil in collaboration with other stakeholders. According to the Center, Brazil has had a difficult political environment with the federal government (Bolsonaro’s legislation) denial and skepticism about climate change. This has pushed the Center to work more on the subnational level with state governments, cities, and the public. The Center worked on successful campaigns for acceptance of the Paris Agreement in Brazil and elaborated research documents such as Carbon Neutral Brazil 2060 that suggest routes to Net Zero to the government.
Education and communication
The Ministry of Education guarantees quality education for all levels, including basic education, higher education, professional and technological education, and special and distance education. The Ministry also works directly and indirectly in climate change education or related areas such as environmental education. Parallel to the Ministry is the National Council of Education, which is in charge of formulating and evaluating the national education policy, ensuring its quality. The Council focuses on a participative system that invites citizen input on development and consolidation of national education policies.
Working in parallel with the Ministry of Education to enhance the education system is the Secretariat of Higher Education, which is in charge of planning, guiding, coordinating, and monitoring the process of formulating and implementing national higher education. The Secretariat proposes and executes programs that promote expanding access and retention for students in tertiary education. The Secretariat of Vocational and Technological Education manages vocational and technical education in Brazil.
The Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovations, with the support of other ministries, stakeholders, and universities, created the Climate Network (Rede Clima) in 2007. The Network is essential in researching and developing Brazil’s national climate change plans. It focuses on the scientific basis of climate change and studies of impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, and knowledge and technologies to mitigate climate change effects. The Network develops and disseminates climate change knowledge so Brazil can better face related challenges.
The National Institute for Research in the Amazon, created in 1952, works under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovations to expand use of the Amazon’s natural resources sustainably. The Institute focuses on research, training, and dissemination of scientific knowledge of the Amazon and supports climate change and environmental education in elementary and higher education.
The Coordinating Foundation for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel works nationwide in postgraduate evaluations, promotion of international scientific cooperation, training of high-level human resources, and teacher training for primary education. The Foundation supports climate change studies and international study programs for Brazilian students.
The Ministry of Labor and Welfare is in charge of training and vocational education. The Ministry runs the National Service for Industrial Training and the National Council for the Federal Network of Vocational, Scientific, and Technological Education Institutions.
iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans
According to the Website Climate Laws of the World, Brazil has some of the most comprehensive climate change legislation worldwide.
In the Political Constitution (1988), Brazil guarantees the right to an ecologically balanced environment (Article 225, chapter VI). Both the government and the community have the duty to defend and preserve the environment for present and future generations. Specific regions of Brazil including the Brazilian Amazonian Forest, are national patrimony and are to be used only under legal conditions to ensure their preservation.
The National Environmental Policy Act (1981; Law No. 6.938/1981) was followed by the National Policy on Climate Change (2009; Law No. 12,187), which establishes guidelines, principles, and essential instruments to address climate change. The Policy aims at socio-economic development in Brazil that considers reduction of emissions and conservation of environmental resources. The Policy supports implementation of measures to promote adaptation to climate change, expansion of legally protected areas, encouragement of reforestation, and education, dissemination, training, and public awareness of climate change.
With Brazil’s rich biodiversity, different legal frameworks related to climate change have been implemented. For instance, the Brazilian Forestry Code (Law No. 12,651; the New Forest Code), was launched in 2012. The Code establishes general rules on protection of vegetation, permanent preservation areas, legal reserve areas, forestry exploitation, supply of forestry raw materials, control of the origin of forest products, and control and prevention of forest fires, and provides economic and financial instruments to achieve its goals.
Brazil’s National Climate Change Plan (2008) encourages development of national actions to address climate change matters. The Plan was established to organize ongoing activities, reinforce existing ones, and identify and create new initiatives. The Plan has implemented objectives on international cooperation, agricultural sustainability, and vulnerability measurement and actions on capacity building, education, and communication to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The National Fund on Climate Change Law (2009) was created to finance the climate change mitigation and adaptation activities of the National Climate Change Plan (2008). The Fund supports activities on adaptation, combating desertification, education, training, REDD+, technology development, public policy development, sustainable production chains, and payment for environmental services. Several sector plans related to climate change have been approved over time, including the Low-Carbon Agriculture Plan (2010), the Action Plan to Prevent and Control Deforestation in the Amazon and in the Cerrado (2016), the Ten-Year National Energy Expansion Plan (2020), the Sectoral Plan for Climate Change Mitigation for the Consolidation of a Low-Carbon Economy in the Manufacturing Industry (2014), the Low-Carbon Mining Plan (2013), the Sectoral Plan for Reducing Emissions in the Steel Industry (n.d.), the Plan on Transport and Urban Mobility for Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change (2013), and the Health Sector Plan for Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change (2013).
The Government of Brazil’s National Adaptation Plan (2016) promotes reducing and managing climate risk considering climate change effects. The Plan aims to mainstream its policies and adaptation guidelines into government planning, policy making, and national development strategies. The Plan’s specific goals are to guide expansion and dissemination of scientific, technical, and traditional knowledge on climate risk matters, promote cooperation between public entities for climate risk management, and identify and propose measures to promote adaptation to climate change and reduce climate risk (p. 20).
Brazil’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2022) confirm its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country and provide updates on the efforts of national entities such as the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change and Green Growth, the national development situation, renewable energy source indicators, and implementation of policies.
As per the 4th National Communication (2020), Brazil has implemented diverse climate change policies at the national level. The National Communication highlights that 16 of the 27 Brazilian states have approved state climate change policies, 17 states have set up climate change forums, and 10 states have adaptation plans. Several municipalities have climate policies or strategies in places, including Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Recife, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. About 110 municipalities are participating in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.
In 2017, 14 of 27 states, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais, set their own climate plans.
Education and communication
One of the 10 principles of the National Environmental Policy (Law No. 6938/81) is that “environmental education at all levels of education, including community education, intended to enable them to participate actively in environmental protection.” In the Political Constitution (1988), Brazil guarantees the right to an ecologically balanced environment (Article 225, chapter VI). The Constitution states that “everyone has the right to an ecologically balanced environment, of common use, and essential to a healthy quality of life, imposing on public power and society the duty to defend and preserve it for present and future generations.” Emphasized is the need “to promote environmental education in all levels of education and public awareness to preserve the environment.” The National Environmental Education Policy, (Law No. 9795;1999) requires that environmental issues in formal education are presented as an interdisciplinary alternative, as opposed to a specific school discipline. The Policy and Decree 4281/2002 establish the education system structure structure, composition, and powers of a Governing Body composed of the Ministers of the Environment and Education to promote and coordinate the national environmental education policies in Brazil, and an Advisory Committee of 13 representatives of government and non-governmental sectors, laborers, employers, and environmental educators that aims to advise the Governing Body in the planning and evaluation of guidelines and proceedings for environmental education policies. The Policy supports creation of sub-national Commissions for Environmental Education and Policies, based on the national structure.
The Political Constitution (1988) guarantees education as a right of all and a duty of the state and the family. Although the document does not include climate change terms, Article 225 on the environment empowers the government to promote environmental education at all school levels and public awareness to preserve the environment.
The Ministry of Education Law No. 9,394 from 1996 established guidelines and bases for a national education plan, determining compulsory and free education from 4 to 17 years of age. The Law empowers government bodies, has an inclusive perspective throughout the stages of education, and establishes the financial system bases for education.
Law 13.186 on the Policy for Education on Sustainable Consumption establishes a basis to educate more about consumption and the needs for recycling.
The National Curriculum Guidelines for Basic Education (2013) focus on national education and prioritize processes that enhance equality, freedom, plurality, diversity, respect, social justice, solidarity, and sustainability. The Guidelines include curriculum guidelines for Indigenous groups and environmental education, and consider that contemporary environmental crises must be attended to. The Guidelines also mention climate change documents considered in creating the environmental education section, such as the National Climate Change Plan (2008).
The National Education Plan (2014–2024) establishes 20 goals to consolidate and monitor a successful education system for all levels, closing gaps in access and retention, reducing inequalities, promoting human rights, and ensuring training for work and for promoting the practice of good values in society. The Plan does not refer to climate change.
Following guidelines and values from Law No. 9,394 (1996), the National Education Plan (2014–2024), and the National Curriculum Guidelines for Basic Education (2013), the Common National Curriculum Base (2018) implements systematically and progressively the basic knowledge that students must learn in primary education to build a just, democratic, and inclusive society. The Curriculum includes pedagogical guidelines from pre-primary school to secondary and includes few references to climate change and environmental issues in Natural Sciences.
The PL 934/2021 (Law Project) was just approved in Rio de Janeiro. It includes climate change education in the basic education curriculum.
iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication
In Brazil, the term ‘environmental education’ is commonly used in documents and government websites. ‘Climate change education’ and ‘awareness of climate change’ are found less frequently in official documents. Other documents mention terms such as ‘sustainable development’ and ‘climate knowledge.’
The National Climate Change Plan (2008) includes an environmental education section but no specific definition for environmental education to highlight that it is a key aspect of climate change. The Plan also uses terms such as ‘global environmental changes,’ ‘global climate change,’ ‘effects on biodiversity,’ and ‘sustainable development.’
The National Adaptation Plan (2016) includes terms such as ‘climate change education and awareness’ among strategies in the health sector. The Plan aims to “promote education and awareness on climate change and its effects on human health within measures and actions targeted at SUS (Single Health System) professionals and organized civil society partner institutions to promote changes in risk perception” (p. 178).
The National Policy on Climate Change (Law No. 12,187) mentions initiatives to strengthen climate change knowledge. Article 5 established the Policy’s objectives to promote disseminating information, education, training, and public awareness of climate change.
‘Climate change’ is mentioned only a few times in the Common National Curriculum Base (2018), in the subjects of Natural Sciences and Technology. The Curriculum mentions the interconnection among natural sciences, technology, contemporary societies, and global and local issues such as ‘climate change,’ highlighting the role of natural sciences and technology (educational and general perspectives) in solving problems locally and worldwide (p. 547).
The National Curriculum Guidelines for Basic Education (2013) are clear about the function of environmental education and the symbiosis with climate change matters in Brazil.
The recognition of the transformative and emancipatory role of Environmental Education becomes increasingly visible in the current national and global context in which it is evident, in the social practice, the concern with climate change, the degradation of nature, the reduction of biodiversity, local and global socio-environmental risks, planetary needs (p. 542).
The Government of Brazil has determined to increase ‘climate knowledge’ through National Communications. Brazil’s 4th National Communication states that “Scientific research helps bridge information gaps identified in the previous communications while contributing significantly to the development of climate knowledge and its repercussions at the regional and national levels” (p. 67).
v. Budget for climate change education and communication
According to the World Bank, Brazil allocated around 6.1 % of gross domestic product in 2018 to education. However, no specified amount is allocated to climate change communication and education. In 2022, a budget of over US$ 31 billion (~BRL 160 billion) was allocated to the Ministry of Education, which is 3.78% of Brazil’s public spending.
Goal 20 of the National Education Plan (2014–2024) is to increase public investment in public education. The Plan seeks 7% of Brazil’s gross domestic product by its fifth year and at least 10% of gross domestic product by 2030.
In 2021, the Ministry of Environment received a budget of around US$ 586 million (~BRL 3 billion) that it used directly and through decentralized bodies. The 2022 allocated budget is US$ 710 million (~BRL 3.6 billion).
Through Law No. 12,114, the National Climate Change Fund financially supports education, capacity building, training, and mobilization on climate change. Although the Fund’s list of supported projects 2011 and 2021 does not note specific projects on climate change communication and education, it includes projects on strengthening climate change data, capacity building, awareness raising, and university funding. According to the 2021 national budget from the Ministry of Environment, the Fund spent around US$ 64 million (~BRL 323 million) in its projects. By August 2022 the executed expenses of the 2022 budget reached around US$ 87 million (~BRL 444 million).
International financing from the Green Climate Fund is allocated in various climate projects in Brazil, including development of climate plans, capacity building, strengthening of resilience in Amazon communities, and gender action plans. The Fund had committed around US$ 400 million to Brazil at the time of this report.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
The national education system in Brazil is guided by Law No. 9,394 (1996), which was most recently amended in 2009. The Law establishes that early childhood, elementary, and secondary education curricula must have a shared national basis for school establishments, society, culture, economy, and students. Although the Law does not include climate change guidelines, it established that environmental education must be included in an integrated manner, with mandatory content. This right was later migrated to the National Civil Defense and Protection Policy (Law No. 12,608; 2012), which guarantees it in chapter IV of Final Dispositions.
Brazil has made some efforts in order to advance in climate change education terms. The National Climate Change Plan (2008) mentions Ministry of Education efforts to address climate change by implementing sustainable development initiatives for buildings (schools and universities), management, teacher training, and inclusion of climate change in curricula and teaching materials.
Under an inclusive approach, the National Curriculum Guidelines for Basic Education (2013) tries to reach the entire student population, splitting the curriculum by age, subject, and socio-cultural groups such Indigenous and Quilombola (Afro-descended) peoples. The Curriculum fosters inclusion of environmental topics and nature conservation beginning at the pre-primary level, through cognitive learning dimensions that can shift to action and social learning dimensions in other subjects and at higher levels. The Curriculum includes guidelines for human rights education and environmental education, promoting a sustainable interaction between human beings and nature through cognitive and action learning dimensions to build knowledge, skills, and social values to protect the environment (p. 542). Although the Curriculum does not include climate change education, it highlights the environmental education objective of the National Climate Change Plan (2008) to strengthen the inclusion of climate change in curricula.
The Ministry of Education, empowered by different education policies, developed the Common National Curriculum Base (2018) following Agenda 2030. Among the learning objectives for pre-primary education (4–5 years old), the Curriculum encourages students to identify information about nature, natural phenomena, and their conservation. In higher levels of primary education, the Curriculum includes climate change initiatives, especially in Natural Science, Geography, and Technologies. The Curriculum (p. 550) emphasizes the importance of the research process during the student’s learning process (especially in high school), bringing students closer to the procedures and instruments of investigation such as identifying problems, formulating questions, proposing hypotheses, developing arguments, and communicating conclusions. The Natural Sciences curriculum encourages high school students, through action learning dimensions, to build discussion abilities that contribute to restoring environmental balance and identifying climate change alterations caused by human beings regionally and globally. A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
The National Institute for Research in the Amazon collaborates on environmental education projects for schools that can also develop climate change approaches. For instance, its Laboratory of Psychology and Environmental Education developed education materials for the public, but they have also been implemented in schools. The materials include booklets called Knowing and Protecting Forests: Everyone’s Mission and The Earth in Times of Climate Change and Forest Action, to involve students interactively to pay attention to current problems such as climate change or global warming, and to encourage students to act to address those problems. The booklets support a cognitive understanding of issues such as the greenhouse effect and the role of the forest as an excellent solution to this problem.
Thanks to Steam Learning and the British Council Brazil, the Cooperative Climate Change Project with Brazilian Schools observes and analyzes deforestation data from the UK and Brazil. The program includes teaching sections for better understanding of climate change, an interactive section gathering information from the public, use of the European Space Agency’s Sentinel data, and a section of peer review among UK’s schools and their partner Brazilian schools, where students can share findings and discuss the impacts of climate change.
Some Brazilian states have strengthened their environmental education and institutional frameworks locally, which fosters climate change education. For instance, the Government of the State of São Paulo has a Secretariat of Infrastructure and Environment and a state system that includes enhancement of environmental education among their plans. Environmental education is promoted by different mechanisms in parks, museums, courses, events, exhibitions, and books edited by specialists. The state government also makes steady efforts to increase and implement public environmental policies. The State counts with a State Environmental Education Policy (2007),which includes among the fundamental objectives, the development of projects, programs and actions of environmental education integrated with climate change, conservation, water management, among others.
The National Adaptation Plan (2016) promotes innovations to enhance adaptation to climate change and reduce disaster risks. The Plan includes the principles of civil defense and protection in elementary and secondary school curricula.
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
The Ministry of Education collaborates in improving teacher training. For instance, the Virtual Learning Environment of the Ministry offers diverse modalities of courses for the teaching–learning process. Users can find teacher curricula and courses sorted by categories and school level. The platform does not include climate change courses, but does contain Natural Sciences subjects and courses about curricula implantation linked to the Common National Curriculum Base (2018), including environmental, sustainable development, and climate change approaches.
The Coordinating Foundation for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel offers a platform for teachers called CAPES Basic Education Platform, an interactive database where teachers of primary education and undergraduate students can access pedagogical curriculum materials. The platform requires a user login, so this report could not track climate change courses for teacher training.
In collaboration with the Federal University of ABC (named for the ABC region of Grande São Paulo), and the Ocean Science Decade Brazil, the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovations offers a free course for primary education teachers on Antarctic Science. The 60-hour course includes themes such as animal and plant life, ice and climate, technical training, and development of a polar project. The course is based on the pedagogy of projects through theoretical and practical research activities, with interactive knowledge sharing. The course concludes with elaborating on a polar project that can be taught in the classroom.
With collaboration of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Ministry of Education and the Secretary of Education of Itajaí developed teacher training in climate change and sustainability in 2014, through the program Climate Change in the Classroom. Itajaí is highly vulnerable to climate change. The 40-hour course aims to teach docents about climate change matters and how to implement the subject in the classrooms. They receive didactic material to be developed in schools.
Created in 2015, the non-profit organization Nova Escola aims to strengthen capacities of primary education teachers. Their platform offers reports, self-instructional courses, training, lesson plans, and education materials, and is accessed by around 2.7 million people per month. Among the courses are Climate change and Sustainable Development: How to use projects with students and Conscious consumption and energy efficiency: how to work the theme in hybrid education. Both align with the Common National Curriculum Base and encourage teachers to bring sustainable development and climate change knowledge to their students.
The social business Reconectta, and other partnerships such as the Climate Reality Project, the movement School for Climate Education and Climate Action offer to schools the opportunity to freely register on the movement and get access to climate initiatives such as climate education content, gatherings among the signatory schools, invitation to events on the topic, as well as economic benefits to acquire specialized training on climate change education.
The environmental education curriculum guidelines from the National Curriculum Guidelines for Basic Education promote effective insertion of environmental education in pedagogical projects. Among the objectives is to guide teacher training courses for Basic Education. The Guidelines have an environmental conservation perspective and include climate change perspectives from the National Climate Change Plan (2008).
iii. Climate change in higher education
In coordination, the Ministry of Education and the Secretariat of Higher Education empower the Coordinating Foundation for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel to evaluate postgraduate programs, student financing support, and international education. Climate change studies are supported under the Emergency Program for the Prevention and Coping of Disasters Related to Weather Emergencies, Extreme Events, and Environmental Accidents of the Coordinating Foundation, due to previous environmental accidents in Brazil. For example, the Graduate Development Program Climate Emergencies calls for interested postgraduate students to conduct research that can contribute to preventing, mitigating, and responding to climate emergencies. The Program stimulates initiatives that can potentially develop sustainable processes, services, or systems to prevent direct and indirect problems caused by climate change.
Parallel to the Coordinating Foundation for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel, international stakeholders and governments promote climate projects in higher education. For instance, CAPES/CLIMAT-AMSUD (Climate–South America), in collaboration with the French government, invites students from South America to participate in joint research projects related to climate change and climate variation, through exchange of researchers, doctoral students, and knowledge between South American countries and France.
Although the National Education Plan (2014–2024) does not directly include climate change education, its Goal 13 is to raise the quality of higher education and expand the proportion of professors who hold Master’s and PhD degrees. The Plan directs university activities, institutionalizing research and building the number of postgraduate enrollments to reach the annual level of 60,000 Master’s and 25,000 PhD students.
The Climate Network of universities and institutes supports research to develop knowledge about climate change and information for policy making. Higher education institutions cooperate in parallel with the Climate Network to develop data in 16 thematic sub-networks on Agriculture, Biodiversity and Ecosystems, Cities and Urbanization, Natural Disasters, Regional Development, Scientific Dissemination, Economics, Renewable Energies, Climate Modeling, Oceans, Public Policies, Water Resources, Health, Environmental Services of Ecosystems, and Uses of Land and Coastal Zone.
The National Institute for Research in the Amazon and the Amazon State University offer interdisciplinary PhD and Master’s programs in Climate and Environment on studying increasing climate and environmental impacts in the Amazon due to land-use changes and global climate change effects.
Master’s programs related to climate change matters are offered by the State University of Maranhão, including Agriculture and Environment, Biodiversity, Environment and Health, and Aquatic Resources and Fishing. Although they do not include climate change directly in their curricula, they cover related topics such as sustainable development, environmental education, environmental management, and conservation.
For 18 months, a pioneer experience for teacher training in South Brazil involved the University of Passo Fundo and the School Cardeal Arcoverde State Institute. School teachers benefited from regular training on how to integrate climate change and sustainability in the classroom. The training experience addressed mitigation and adaptation, the importance of empowerment and action, and the need for local and global efforts.
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
Skills for Green Jobs in Brazil (2018) analyzed in depth the legislation, policies, plans, and institutions that cooperate to increase professional skills related to the environment, sustainable development, and climate change. Brazil has intensified technical and vocational education and training through work of essential institutions, such as the National Industrial Training Service, the National Commercial Training Service, and the National Program of Access to Technical Education and Employment.
The National Industrial Training Service offers free, paid, online, and face-to-face courses through its main website. Among the courses related to climate change are Sustainable Energy as a Path to the Future, Conscious Consumption of Energy and Environmental Education. In these 14-hour courses, students over 12 years old can learn about environmental impacts, lighting performance, efficient lighting, environmental agendas in public administration, and water consumption, among other topics. Skills for Green Jobs in Brazil (Annex I) includes information about 19 courses taught by the National Industrial Training Service with a focus on green jobs, mainly on topics such as sustainable development, environmental management and control, environmental legislation, and environmental impact assessment.
The government of Brazil website promotes capacity building for different audiences in the section on Environment and Climate. In coordination with the Ministry of Environment, they offer courses on environmental, sustainability, and climate change themes. For instance, Training in Management and Regulation of Water Resources and Biodiversity in Protected Areas are addressed to professionals who work in related fields and to the public.
Another initiative of the Ministry of Environment is Educate +, an environmental program that offers a free knowledge channel for the public and public sector workers. The program provides information through virtual lectures, videos, and free courses to build capacities in society to meet environmental issues such as climate change. After finishing a course, participants can validate their certificate of studies.
Attending the climate crisis and the unemployment threats for future generations, the nongovernmental organization Youth Climate Leaders (YCL) promotes the professional insertion of young people in current economies. The aim is to enhance climate knowledge and boost networking to cooperate on climate change and sustainability. The nongovernmental organization offers various climate training courses, having 14 Hubs in Brazil and international connections with partnerships in Canada and Portugal.
Under the citizen’s initiative of Maurici Tadeu and his community, the LightHouse School was created in a rural area of Brazil, including free UNESCO courses such as Introduction to Climate Change. The School is focused on gathering the community to discuss environmental issues together, implementing climate change theory, and analyzing global effects in daily lives and community initiatives. The School cooperates with local schools, in teacher training, and in implementing climate change in curricula. Maurici Tadeu became the Secretary of Education for his municipality.
The non-profit organization ClimaInfo runs courses open to the public on climate change and encourages people to subscribe to receive news and upcoming climate courses. Among the courses is Climate Change, Amazon, and Sustainability, offering an overview and analysis of the consequences of climate change in the Amazon region.
International programs such as the French Climate Fresh Workshop have been replicated in 50 countries, including Brazil. In Brazil, the workshop is called Climate Mural. It brings the opportunity for teachers, workers, and stakeholders to learn about climate change matters and shows people that they can have important roles in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The workshop has three stages, each 3 hours: an interactive game of cards to reflect and gain an overview of climate change, a drawing stage that highlights causes and consequences, and a debate on possible solutions.
The National Adaptation Plan (2016) prioritizes capacity building to find successful adaptation processes to climate change. For example, the Plan highlights, under urban development and reduction of vulnerabilities, the implementation of guidelines to support capacity building for human resources and dissemination of information management technologies to assist in implementing strategies and methodologies (p. 69).
Under the National Adaptation Plan (2016), the Strategy for Vulnerable Populations aims to identify people with particular socio-economic characteristics that make them more vulnerable to climate change. The plan considers people in vulnerable locations in Brazil (e.g., Amazon, Cerrado, Catinga, Pampa) and Brazil’s more than 300 different ethnic groups. The purpose is to empower these groups with appropriate training, information, participation, and networks to strengthen their adaptive and mitigate capacities to better address climate change.
i. Climate change and public awareness
The Ministry of Environment promotes awareness campaigns on its website and through social media, policies, programs, and plans. For instance, the campaign Saco é um Saco (Bag is a Bag; 2009) encourages people to exchange plastic bags for bags made from recyclable material. The campaign Green Passport aims for sustainable tourism, promoting conscious consumption, reducing tourism impacts, and encouraging travelers to adopt more sustainable behaviors. This campaign offers an interactive portal, mobile app, and social media mobilization strategies through its awareness initiatives. Environmental Radio is a Ministry initiative to raise public awareness of environmental realities in Brazil, including climate change, deforestation in the Amazon, and preservation of the ozone layer.
Through international cooperation by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, the Institute for Technology and Society from Rio (Brazil) and Intelligence in Strategic Research and Consulting, research by Climate Change and Public Perception in Brazil measures knowledge and concern of Brazilians on climate change and the yearly forest fires in the country. Their survey indicated that Brazilians attribute high relevance to the issue of global warming, although only around 20% of the population believe they have good knowledge on the matter. About 98% of Brazilians believe that global warming is happening and about 80% consider it primarily caused by human activity.
The non-governmental organization SOS MATA ATLANTICA (SOS Atlantic Forest; 1986), founded by scientists, business people, journalists, and other stakeholders, works to promote public policies for conservation of the Atlantic Forest, including communication strategies and awareness campaigns to engage with society. Among the campaigns is The 3 Little Pigs and the Atlantic Forest, a children’s animated video highlighting the fight for environmental preservation and the chance of reversing a situation with negative consequences for climate change.
The National Adaptation Plan (2016; p. 111) highlights eventual climate change-related mobility problems. The Plan promotes raising awareness of climate change and its impacts on mobility, encouraging people to prepare and contribute toward mitigation and adaptation measures.
Public awareness plays an extremely important role for society and the government to join efforts to mitigate GHG effects and adapt to climate change. Therefore, relevant national and subnational organizations were encouraged to develop and implement initiatives to ensure availability of content on climate change (p. 324).
A highlight of the Nationally Determined Contribution (2020) is the role of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change in raising climate change awareness. The Forum involves most ministries in its teamwork, broadening scope at the national level.
ii. Climate change and public access to information
In Brazil, the right to access information is regulated by Law No. 12,527 (2011) on transparent management of information by the public authorities. Brazil also signed the Escazu Agreement in 2018, which secures access to environmental information and promotes climate change awareness, education, capacity building, and public cooperation in decision-making processes. However, the agreement has not been ratified yet.
The Government of Brazil operates the gov.br website, which provides most government information, including plans, strategies, organization, and official documents. The main website includes a section for Environment and Climate, offering general information, training, courses, internships, volunteer work, and projects related to climate change.
The Ministry of Environment offers climate change data to the public on its official website, including ozone layer protection publications, adaptations to climate change, news, projects, official documents, stakeholder information, and awareness raising. The website offers data in an interactive way for users, such as cognitive readings, videos, campaigns, and statistics. The Ministry also offers an Environmental Legislation Panel, including Acts on environmental topics such as climate change, environmental education, protected areas, and Amazonian and conservation legislation.
Most government ministries provide comprehensible public information on their platforms via social media. For instance, the Ministry of Environment uses Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, where it posts current and upcoming projects, Ministry work updates, national legislation, and news about environmental matters, climate awareness campaigns, courses on climate change and conservation, talks, and calls for participation.
Under the General Controllership of the Union, the Fala.BR - Integrated Platform for Ombudsman and Access to Information offers government transparency, allowing citizens to request public information and documents. The Platform includes an extensive list of governmental agencies such as the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Education, and universities. This report did not find further climate change education data because it is not publicly available.
ViewPoint Brazil is a joint research project between institutes in the UK and Climate Science for Service Partnership Brazil that focuses on raising awareness of how climate change will affect Brazil and offering scientific data on plans and strategic decisions to address climate change. The website offers climate data tools, reports, videos, handbooks, infographics, factsheets, and links to technical and scientific research.
Not-for-profit organizations in Brazil, such as ClimaInfo, offer public access to climate change data on actions and policies for mitigation and adaptation, such as research, interviews, analysis, courses, and government activities. This platform offers a daily newsletter by subscription, which publishes the press’s leading news.
Founded in 2002, the Climate Observatory, is a network of over 30 Brazilian civil organizations that aim to collaborate on climate change affairs. The organization offers different initiatives to raise awareness, create climate information, national research in terms of climate change as well as participation in national gatherings for policy making. Its website offers a broad climate content on national reality, partnerships initiatives, legal performances, news, publications, among others.
The AdaptaClima platform was created in 2017 based on the National Adaptation Plan (2016) objective of disseminating climate change information. Under the Ministry of Environment and the International Institute for the Environment and Development (IIED), among others, the Platform is open to the public. It publishes and updates information on adaptation to climate change and offers official documents and a library with content related to climate change. The Platform provides public information for decision making and implementation of actions in Brazil.
iii. Climate change and public participation
The Government of Brazil offers multiple options for interested parties to engage with climate change, mainly advising, monitoring, and planning processes. Most government ministries include a social participation section on their website that offers hearings, public consultations, boards, collegiate bodies, and an ombudsman page, and where suggestions, concerns, and requests can be formulated. Among those ministries is the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovations, which include climate change and education initiatives.
The Fala.BR - Integrated Platform for Ombudsman and Access to Information also promotes participation through public contributions of suggestions, complaints, requests, and compliments. The Platform sends public concerns to the respective Ministry or government agency.
The Government of Brazil makes the Participa + Brazil website available to the public, where stakeholders can easily participate in public consultations and hearings and make suggestions digitally. The opportunities to participate in a process are comprehensive, although no climate change themes were available when this report was developed.
In 2021, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change and Green Growth conducted a public consultation on the Draft to update the National Plan on Climate Change. The public consultation was open to contributions from the public, encouraging people to contribute to the updated proposal for the National Plan. The consultation lasted 1 month and received 242 suggestions from the public.
Most government authorities in Brazil consider public participation and open consultations for upcoming plans and policies. For instance, in April 2022 the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply submitted the draft of the National Decarbonizing Agricultural Chains Program for public consultation for 30 days. The Ministry requested suggestions from the public to enhance this program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural chains.
The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil raised the voice of Indigenous groups from Brazil during participation in the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 in 2021. The Articulation highlighted the level of threats on Indigenous lands, the aim to heal the earth according to ancestral values, and the importance of protecting their lands to better address climate change.
Brazil’s 4th National Communication (2020) clearly states that national and international efforts are implemented in Brazil to enhance the availability of climate change information and initiatives to facilitate public participation in climate change discussions. For instance, EducaClima is a platform developed by departments in the Ministry of Environment to increase climate empowerment in Brazil through Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) elements, including encouraging public participation.
The Nationally Determined Contributions (2020) highlight Brazil’s work on climate change planning through public participation and engagement with local and indigenous peoples. The Brazilian Forum on Climate Change encourages dialogue between the government and civil society by supporting public contributions to discussions of actions needed to address climate change.
i. Country monitoring
An initiative of the National Adaptation Plan is to promote a monitoring and evaluating system for the National Policy on Climate Change, overseen by the Ministry of Environment. The goals are to update information on the progress and performance of the Plan, provide transparency about climate change policies, and provide input for drafting international reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Under the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change initiatives, the Observatory of Public Policies on Climate Change tracks and disseminates information about state policies on climate change. The Observatory collects legislation from Brazil’s 27 states, reports the information, and presents an interactive map showing state initiatives. Among the states’ launched policies are sustainable development, national and international cooperation, prevention, conservation, and environmental education.
The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics tracks information and oversees a large number of indicators in the country. The Institute develops statistics, tables, and socio-demographic and economic analysis. Climate change matters and education, under themes such as potential climate aggression in the legal Amazon, changes in land use and cover, and sustainable development indicators.
The Ministry of Education aims to provide transparency through Monitoring Dashboards and Indicators, distributing data to analysts and the public as part of appropriate oversight of Brazilian education.
Brazil participated in the 2018 PISA Competence Study, which indicated results not that positive for Brazilian students’ knowledge of global issues. Brazil ranked among those with a low awareness of global problems (including climate change and global warming). Although, it is important to highlight that the study only obtained a sample coverage of between 50%-75% according to the Brazilian population.
According to the 4th National Communication (2020), Brazil periodically presents national inventories of greenhouse gas emissions to extend its capacities and commitment to the UNFCCC. The Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovations, through the General Coordination of Climate Science and Sustainability, coordinates the preparation of the Inventory and has a role in articulating the results of the working groups that contribute to the survey of sectoral information. The National Emissions Registry System makes results available.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined Brazil’s 2013 National Curriculum Guidelines for Basic Education (NCF) and the Common National Curriculum Base (BNCC).
Climate change is mentioned 5 times in the National Curriculum Guidelines for Basic Education (2013), while the environment is found 125 times. Further, sustainability 95 times and biodiversity 11 times.
In the Common National Curriculum Base (2018), climate change is not mentioned, whereas the environment is found 6 times, sustainability 28, and biodiversity 18 times.
This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.
This profile was reviewed by Edson Grandisoli, Educational Director, Reconectta, Brazil