Deutsche Tageszeitung - Brazil's Lula to take star turn at UN climate talks

Brazil's Lula to take star turn at UN climate talks


Brazil's Lula to take star turn at UN climate talks
Brazil's Lula to take star turn at UN climate talks / Foto: © AFP

After years of Amazon deforestation under Brazil's outgoing leader Jair Bolsonaro, president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will address Wednesday a UN climate conference eager to hear how he will protect the rainforest.

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Lula arrived Tuesday in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in his first international trip since defeating his far-right rival in the October 30 run-off election.

The leftist politician, who served as president from 2003 to 2010, is expected to present his plan for "zero deforestation" in a speech Wednesday afternoon at the COP27 conference.

"Brazil will again be a reference in the global climate issue," Lula tweeted on Tuesday.

Under Bolsonaro, a staunch ally of agribusiness, average annual deforestation increased 75 percent compared to the previous decade.

Members of Brazil's Indigenous communities have canvassed COP27 participants since last week, urging action and donning traditional clothes to draw attention to their plight.

While the current government has a pavilion at COP27, former steelworker Lula deployed two of his former environment ministers to lay the groundwork for his visit.

One of them, Marina Silva, who is tipped to return to the job when Lula takes office on January 1, said the incoming president's presence at COP27 sends a "big message" that Brazil is "reclaiming climate leadership" on the world stage.

Brazil wants to set an example with Lula's deforestation plan, she said.

Latin America's most populous country grew more isolated under Bolsonaro, analysts say, in part due to his permissive policies towards deforestation and exploitation of the Amazon -- the preservation of which is seen as critical to fighting global warming.

Brazil is home to 60 percent of the Amazon, which spans eight countries and acts as a massive sink for carbon emissions.

Silva promoted the idea of creating a new national authority to coordinate climate action among government ministries, and of pursuing a reforestation target of 12 million hectares (over 29 million acres).

- Lula meets Kerry -

The incoming administration wants the United States to contribute to the Amazon Fund, considered one of the main tools to reduce deforestation in the planet's biggest tropical forest.

Lula and Silva met Tuesday with US climate envoy John Kerry.

Following Lula's victory, the fund's main contributors, Norway and Germany, announced they would participate again, after freezing aid in 2019 in the wake of Bolsonaro's election.

Leftist Colombian President Gustavo Petro and his socialist counterpart Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela presented at COP27 last week an Amazon protection initiative that they hope Brazil will join.

NGOs and Indigenous leaders want Lula to create the first ministry of Indigenous peoples.

Brazilian lawmaker and Indigenous leader Sonia Guajajara urged Lula to "think about social policies with the people".

(A.Stefanowych--DTZ)