Lula Pledges to Stop Deforestation, Seeks Funding from Developed Countries
At the Cop27 climate conference, Brazil's new president-elect, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said that "Brazil is back" in the fight against climate change and promised to fix the damage that Jair Bolsonaro did to the Amazon rainforest.
Lula said last week that Brazil was ready to renew its commitment to fighting climate change. He pointed out how important the election was for the Amazon rainforest's survival.
“There is no climate security for the world without a protected Amazon,” he said. "We will do whatever it takes to stop deforestation and degradation of our biomes by 2030," he said, promising that fighting climate change, along with fighting poverty and inequality, would be the top priority of his government.
At the G20 summit last week, Lula also signed a pact with leaders of two other rainforest countries, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia, that called on developed countries to finance forest conservation. The Amazon fund, which is paid for by Norway and Germany, was frozen in 2019 because Bolsonaro did nothing to stop Brazil's deforestation. It is likely to be unfrozen, but more money will be needed.
In October, Lula barely beat Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro's government cut the budgets of environmental agencies that were supposed to protect the Amazon. During Bolsonaro's time as president of Brazil, the destruction of forests and violence against people who use and protect land, especially Indigenous Peoples, went up quickly.
Climate Counsel, Greenpeace Brasil, and Observatório do Clima filed a lawsuit with the International Criminal Court earlier this month. They said that huge violations of human rights in the Amazon should be considered crimes against humanity.
Over the last ten years, the lawsuit claims, there have been over 12,000 land- or water-related conflicts in the Brazilian Amazon, carried out by "an organised network of politicians, civil servants, law enforcement personnel, businesspersons, and other criminals." Between 2011 and 2021, these conflicts "led to 430 deaths, 554 attempted murders, 2,290 death threats, 87 acts of torture, and over 100,000 expulsions or evictions," according to the filing parties.
The role of financial institutions in subsidising firms associated with deforestation is also an issue. Global Witness, a non-profit organisation, stated in September that the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England were funding environmental degradation by purchasing corporate bonds from companies with ties to deforestation in Brazil.
Global Witness also said that some asset management companies in the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), which is a group of over 550 financial institutions that came together last year, did not get out of companies that were involved in deforestation. Mark Carney, who is co-chair of GFANZ, also said at Cop27 that GFANZ's voluntary criteria were not doing enough to cut members' emissions.