Now, Brazil Will Lead on Climate Fight: Former Official

Past environmental minister tells conference new administration will protect rainforest
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 12, 2022 12:55 PM CST
Now, Brazil Will Lead on Climate Fight: Former Official
Brazil's Marina Silva, a former environmental minister, speaks Saturday during a session at the Brazil Pavilion at the COP27 UN Climate Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.   (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Marina Silva, a former environmental minister and potential candidate for the job again, on Saturday brought a message to the UN climate summit: Brazil is back when it comes to protecting the Amazon rainforest, the largest in the world and crucial to limiting global warming. The election of leftist President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva represents a potentially huge shift in how Brazil manages the forest compared to current President Jair Bolsonaro. Da Silva is expected to attend the conference known as COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, next week, the AP reports. Silva said the fact that da Silva is going coming to the summit, months before he assumes power Jan. 1, was an indication of the administration's commitment to taking a leadership role on combating climate change.

"Brazil will return to the protagonist role it previously had when it comes to climate, to biodiversity," said Silva, who spoke with reporters at the Brazilian Climate Hub. Bolsonaro, who was elected in 2018, pushed development of the Amazon. The deforested area in Brazil's Amazon reached a 15-year high from August 2020 to July 2021, according to official figures. Satellite monitoring shows the trend this year is on track to surpass last year's totals. Upon winning the October elections, da Silva promised to move toward completely stopping deforestation, referred to as Deforestation Zero. That will be a huge task.

While much of the world celebrates policies that protect the rainforest in Brazil and other countries in South America, there are myriad forces pushing for development, including among many Amazon dwellers. And Da Silva, while much more focused on environmental protection compared to Bolsonaro, had a mixed record in his first stint as president. In recent weeks, news reports in Brazil have focused on a possible alliance among Brazil, the Congo and Indonesia, home to the largest tropical forests in the world. The idea would be for these countries to coordinate their negotiating positions and practices on forest management and biodiversity protection. Silva would not discuss the idea specifically but said, "We don't want to be isolated in our protection of forests."

(Read more climate change stories.)

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