19 setembro 2023
By reinforcing Brazil's commitment to reducing deforestation in the Amazon, Lula sends a signal to both Brazil and the world that the environmental agenda is here to stay
By highlighting the climate emergency and the need to preserve forests to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement, President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva plays an important role in global diplomacy by explicitly addressing the relationship between social inequality and climate change.
In the sphere of climate, Lula addresses the UN General Assembly after having reversed the climate setbacks of the previous administration. Despite finding support in actions implemented in the first eight months of his government – when deforestation in the Amazon fell 48%, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change was strengthened and the federal environmental protection agency Ibama once again had its decisions respected –, Lula's speech fell short of the need to call on the planet's political leaders to adopt more ambitious and urgent climate actions.
By reinforcing Brazil's commitment to reducing deforestation in the Amazon, Lula sends a signal to both Brazil and the world that the environmental agenda is here to stay. And this is a necessary move. However, we still have a long way to go in combating the destruction of nature, especially with regard to the Cerrado biome, whose destruction rates remain dramatically high. He also mentioned the Ecological Transition Plan, which aims to have the environmental agenda present in the most diverse areas of the government – another positive point that indicates that the government's concern is where it needs to be and should be. It remains for us to monitor the definition of this plan and monitor whether the stated intention will be converted into socially fair plans for the energy transition.
With comprehensive content, focusing on global issues such as hunger, violence and racism, the president also pointed out the need to hold the richest countries responsible for climate debt. He demanded more resources from them to combat the climate crisis.
Furthermore, he highlighted the country's performance with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the preservation of forests. It is worth noting that the world signed a global agreement to preserve biodiversity at the end of last year - a challenge intrinsically related to the climate issue. Unfortunately, this agreement still does not receive due attention from Brazil and the other signatories. These are worrying signs given the current scenario. WWF's most recent Living Planet report reveals an average drop of 69% in wildlife populations over 4 decades.
Lula's statesman speech made clear the great challenges not only facing Brazil, but the world. In December, we will have the opportunity to make the discussions more tangible, at COP 28 in Dubai. It will be another chance for President Lula to expose Brazil's level of environmental and climate commitment.