SHARM el-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Six weeks before taking power, Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Wednesday told a packed crowd at the U.N. climate summit in Egypt that his administration would crack down on illegal deforestation and thrust Latin America’s largest and most populous nation to the forefront of climate leadership. 

As da Silva arrived in a pavilion, hundreds of people gathered, with many cheering and chanting in Portuguese, “Lula,” the name widely used by Brazilians to refer to him. The appearance of da Silva, who in the last year made an extraordinary political comeback after being convicted of corruption and jailed a few years ago, was easily one of the events that brought the most energy at the conference known as COP27. That’s because da Silva, who as president between 2003 and 2010 oversaw a large reduction in deforestation of the Brazilian rainforest, has promised to do so again.

After meeting with several Brazilian governors, including from important rainforest states like Amazonia and Para, da Silva addressed the crowd in a short speech.

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

Da Silva said he would recommend that the U.N. put 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.” 

During his speech, da Silva took several swipes at President Jair Bolsonaro, who pushed development of the Amazon, both in his pro-business rhetoric and how his administration managed the forests. Da Silva beat Bolsonaro in October’s elections and will assume power Jan. 1. 

“Brazil can’t remain isolated like it was these last four years. (Officials from Brazil) didn’t travel to any other countries, and no other countries traveled to Brazil,” said da Silva.

Da Silva has several other meetings planned with ministers from various countries over the next days. 

On Tuesday night, da Silva met with U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry, who on Wednesday told reporters he was pleased that da Silva “talked about for once and for all getting it right, pulling people together in order to preserve the Amazon.”

Under Bolsonaro, elected in 2018, environmental agencies that regulate the Amazon were weakened. The former Army captain also appointed forest managers from the agribusiness sector, which opposes the creation of protected areas such as Indigenous territories and pushes for the legalization of land robbing. …read more



At climate summit, Brazil’s Lula says deforestation to stop

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