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Lula’s Pledge to Save Amazon Wins Hero’s Welcome at COP27 – Bloomberg

  • President-elect wants to host COP30 in an Amazon state in 2025
  • Speech in Egypt signals Brazil’s U-turn on climate policy
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends a discussion about the Amazon Forest at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Nov. 16. (Joseph Eid/AFP)

Salma El Wardany, Oliver Crook and Laura Millan Lombraña, Bloomberg News

EnergiesNet.com 11 18 2022

Brazil’s president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva offered to host UN climate talks in the Amazon in 2025, saying that the country will be prioritizing the preservation of the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

Lula, as the politician is known, is on his first international trip since beating President Jair Bolsonaro in elections last month. In contrast to Lula’s position, Bolsonaro weakened protection for the world’s biggest rainforest in favor of economic development.

“I’m here in front of all of you to tell you that Brazil is back,” he said in a speech at the COP27 talks in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, standing among governors of Brazil’s Amazon states, and in front of an enthusiastic crowd that chanted his name. “Brazil can’t be isolated as it was in the last four years.”

Under outgoing Bolsonaro, deforestation rates in the Amazon soared to record highs. At least some parts of it have stopped capturing greenhouse gases and have become now contributors to global warming, according to scientific research. In his speech at COP27, Lula vowed to reverse some of that. 

“We are going to fight strongly against illegal deforestation,” he said. “We’re going to create the Ministry of Indigenous People so that they’re not treated as criminals by the industries — be prepared for that.”

Lula drew one of the liveliest crowds at UN-sponsored climate talks in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, with hundreds of not only journalists and activists, but also indigenous people dressed in traditional clothes waiting for as long as three hours for the president-elect’s arrival. As he entered the room, they sang to the tune of soccer chants: “Olé, Olé, Olé, Lula Lula!”

Yet despite the enthusiastic welcome, preventing the Amazon deforestation won’t be easy for Lula given the geographical challenges of a huge, isolated land — about half the size of the US — that’s hard to police and filled with violent gangs with a government facing fiscal constrains.

In another speech delivered later in the day at COP27, Lula promised to make the fight against climate change a core issue within its government, including tackling deforestation and environmental crimes. The new government will reinstitute institutions that track deforestation and study the Amazon, but were dismantled during Bolsonaro’s administration.

The president-elect said he will also be speaking with UN Secretary General António Guterres to put Brazil forward as the host country for COP30 talks in 2025. The summit should take place in a state in the Amazon, he said. 

“People who defend the climate should know closely what that region is,” he said. “We should change the way people discuss the Amazon from a concrete reality and not only from the books.” 

Read More: Lula Moves to Put Brazil at Vanguard of Climate Negotiations

Brazil will make the climate agenda one of the priorities of the Group of 20 in 2024, when the country holds its presidency, he said. Lula plans to raise with rich countries issues that have been approved at past COPs but never been implemented.

The president-elect also expressed support to the developing nations’ position in what’s possibly the most contentious issue being debated at COP27 — loss and damage, or the right of poor countries to get compensation for the impacts of a global warming that they’re suffering, but didn’t cause. 

“We need very urgently financial mechanisms to solve the losses and damages caused by climate change,” he said. “We can’t keep delaying this debate — we don’t have more time to lose.”

–With assistance from Juan Pablo Spinetto.

bloomberg.com 11 17 2022

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