At COP27, Brazil’s Lula vows halt to rampant deforestation

Speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27, Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has vowed to crack down on illegal deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and to make his country a leader in the global fight against climate change.

The statements on Wednesday, which come six weeks before Lula is set to take office, signalled a departure from the policies of current President Jair Bolsonaro, who presided over years of rampant Amazon deforestation.

By contrast, Lula said that climate change would have the highest profile in his government and that he would work to strengthen oversight and monitoring systems dismantled over the last four years.

“I am here to say to all of you that Brazil is back in the world,” Lula said in front of hundreds of attendees gathered in a pavilion in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he was met with enthusiastic chants.

“You all know that we are going to undertake a big fight against deforestation,” he said.

Brazil is home to 60 percent of the Amazon, which spans eight countries and acts as a massive offset for global carbon emissions, a fact underscored by Lula in his address.

“There is no climate security for the world without a protected Amazon,” Lula later said in his formal speech. “We will do whatever it takes to have zero deforestation and the degradation of our biomes.”

Among the pledges he made, Lula said he would recommend that the United Nations host the 2025 climate conference in the Amazon, adding it was time that “people who defend the Amazon and defend the climate get to know the region close up”.

The president-elect also called on the international community to show better leadership when it comes to climate change. He challenged wealthy nations to deliver on their pledge to provide $100bn per year in climate finance.

Meanwhile, he said the global community is in urgent need of “financial mechanisms to remedy losses and damages caused by climate change”.

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