Brazil will regain its climate “leadership” (ex-minister)


Brazil will protect the Amazon “through its own efforts” without waiting for international funding, incoming President Luiz Inacio’s former environment minister Lula da Silva said on Saturday during climate talks at the UN.

Credited with curbing deforestation in the 2000s, Marina Silva outlined the top environmental priorities of the new president, who will travel next week to climate talks in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Silva is expected to resume his role in Lula’s new government.

Lula has vowed that tackling deforestation in the Amazon will be a “strategic priority” for his government, thwarting the legacy of Jair Bolsonaro, who presided over a wave of rainforest destruction.

Silva said Lula’s visit to Egypt even before he took office on Jan. 1 shows that “Brazil is regaining environmental leadership in the multilateral arena.”

With a plan to tackle the destruction of the Amazon and pursue a reforestation target of 12 million hectares (30 million acres), Brazil will lead “by example”, she said.

Silva added that the country would act to preserve forests – a crucial buffer against global warming – without depending on international aid.

But she welcomed announcements from Norway and Germany that they would resume financial support. Both countries withdrew aid in 2019 soon after Bolsonaro came to power.

Norway is the largest contributor to this fund, which currently holds $641 million, according to its environment ministry.

Since Bolsonaro – a staunch agribusiness ally – took office in January 2019, average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased by 75% compared to the previous decade.

Silva said there was a need to create a national super-body to coordinate climate action across different ministries.

“It would be something innovative and powerful,” she said.

Lula, 77, secured a narrow victory over far-right incumbent Bolsonaro in the October 30 runoff election.

The veteran left-winger will be inaugurated for a third term on January 1, facing prospects far more difficult than the commodity-fueled boom he presided over in the 2000s.

Silva traveled to Egypt to prepare the ground for Lula’s planned visit.

She called for a review of the carbon credit market amid fears oil and gas majors are using them as a way to avoid cutting their own emissions.

“I don’t believe that fossil fuel generation should be sustained by relying on these credits,” she said.

While she said Brazil would still need its oil resources “as a transition to other sources of energy production”, she added that her personal view was that even the state-owned oil company Petrobras should go above and beyond. beyond oil and contribute to Brazil’s energy transition.



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