COP27: Lula says ‘Brazil is back’ in climate change fight as he vows to tackle deforestation

COP27: Lula says ‘Brazil is back’ in climate change fight as he vows to tackle deforestation

Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva promised to fight illegal Amazon rainforest deforestation as he outlined his climate pledges to the COP27 summit.

Speaking to a packed room, on Wednesday Lula vowed to recommit the rainforest nation to tackling the climate crisis and said Brazil was “back in the world”.

Lula triumphed against Jair Bolsonaro in a tightly contested election on October 31. He will take power in six weeks.

After meeting with several Brazilian governors, he told delegates that he would seek to make Brazil the host of COP30 in 2025 and aim to put the venue in the Amazon rainforest.

“It's important for it to be in the Amazon. It's important for the people who defend the Amazon, the people who defend the climate, to closely get to know what the region is,” he said.

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

The Amazon rainforest, which overlaps with several nations in South America, is seen as crucial to combatting climate change because of the large amounts of carbon dioxide that it absorbs.

Outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro (Getty Images)
Outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro (Getty Images)

During the speech, he took several swipes at Mr Bolsonaro’s time in Government, in which deforestation in the Amazon rainforest surged to a 15-year high. Mr Bolsonaro was also criticised for appointing climate-skeptics as ministers.

“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 travelled to Brazil,” he said.

Lula reduced deforestation to near record lows in his first presidency from 2003 to 2010.

For his new administration, he has promised a sweeping plan to restore environmental law enforcement that eroded under Bolsonaro and create green jobs.

During his speech at COP27, Lula said that efforts to fight climate change would have the “highest profile in my next government”.

“We will prioritise the fight against deforestation of all of our biomes and reverse years of the previous governments. In 2021, we had a deforestation of 13,000 sq km. The destruction will stay in the past.

“Environmental crimes have grown in a scary way under the previous government. We will strengthen oversight bodies. We will punish illegal activities: gold miners, loggers, farmers.”