Lula's presidency builds up global hopes of saving Amazon rainforest

AFP - EVARISTO SA

Hopes of protecting the Amazon rainforest from further destruction, at a time when the dual climate and biodiversity crises are commanding global attention, have got a sorely needed boost following the inauguration of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

During his first speech to Congress on 1 January, Lula said Brazil did not "need to deforest" the world’s most important ecosystem to support the country’s agricultural sector, repeating his goal of "zero deforestation”.

Lula’s second presidency, which begins two decades after he first took up the job, comes after deforestation rates in Brazil surged by 60 percent under his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro.

Lula said Bolsonaro’s far-right leadership had left “terrible ruins” among Brazil’s institutions, destroying environmental protections, as he vowed to undo the harm caused.

Great expectations

Lula concedes the international community wants to see strong gestures in the defence of the Amazon following Bolsonaro's tumultuous four years in office.

“The world expects Brazil to once again become a leader in tackling the climate crisis and an example of a socially and environmentally responsible country,” Lula said.

“There is no need to cut down a single tree. Just replant the 30 million hectares of land that have been degraded. This way we will be able to live without cutting wood, without burning, and without the need to invade our ecosystems."


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