Brazil proposed to break a deadlock over how the U.N. should protect the world's environment.
France has proposed an international environmental agency along the lines of the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization.
The United States and other countries have balked, saying they'd prefer to strengthen existing bodies such as the United Nations Environmental Program and the Global Environment Fund.
Environment Minister Marina Silva said Brazil's plan would leave the existing agencies in place, but create an "umbrella organization" above them that would have resources to finance projects.
Silva made the proposal at an informal two-day meeting of environment and other officials from 22 countries. She said they were "positively surprised" by the idea.
Brazil's extensive use of ethanol and other biofuels have put it at the forefront of international efforts to combat climate change.
The country is also home to the bulk of the Amazon rain forest, which many scientists believe plays an important part in cooling the Earth's climate.