Brazil will be climate leader, says ex-minister Marina Silva

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SHARM el-SHEIKH, Egypt — Marina Silva, a former environmental minister and potential candidate for the job once more, on Saturday introduced a message to the U.N. local weather summit: Brazil is again on the subject of defending the Amazon rainforest, the most important on the planet and essential to limiting international warming.

The latest election of leftist President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva represents a probably enormous shift in how Brazil manages the forest in comparison with present President Jair Bolsonaro. Da Silva was anticipated subsequent week to attend the convention often known as COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Silva stated the truth that da Silva was coming to the summit, months earlier than he assumes energy Jan. 1, was a sign of the dedication of his administration to guard forests and take a management position on combating local weather change. Da Silva was anticipated to satisfy with a number of heads of delegations.

“Brazil will return to the protagonist position it beforehand had on the subject of local weather, to biodiversity,” stated Silva, who spoke with reporters on the Brazilian Local weather Hub.

Bolsonaro, who was elected in 2018, pushed growth of the Amazon, each in his actions and rhetoric. Environmental companies have been weakened and he appointed forest managers from the agribusiness sector. The sector opposes the creation of protected areas equivalent to Indigenous territories and pushes for the legalization of land robbing. The deforested space in Brazil’s Amazon reached a 15-year high from August 2020 to July 2021, based on official figures. Satellite tv for pc monitoring exhibits the development this yr is on monitor to surpass final yr.

Upon successful the October elections, da Silva, president between 2003 and 2010, promised to overtake Bolsonaro’s insurance policies and transfer towards utterly stopping deforestation, known as “Deforestation Zero.”

That shall be an enormous process. Whereas a lot of the world celebrates insurance policies that defend the rainforest in Brazil and different international locations in South America, there are myriad forces pushing for development, together with amongst many Amazon dwellers. And Da Silva, whereas way more centered on environmental safety in comparison with Bolsonaro, had a mixed record as president. Deforestation dropped dramatically throughout the decade after Da Silva took energy, with Marina Silva as setting minister. However in his second time period, Da Silva started catering to agribusiness pursuits, and in 2008 Marina Silva resigned.

In latest weeks, information stories in Brazil have centered on a attainable alliance between Brazil, the Congo and Indonesia, residence to the most important tropical forests on the planet. Given the moniker “OPEC of the Forests,” in reference to the Group of the Petroleum Exporting International locations and the way in which they regulate oil manufacturing, the final concept could be for these three international locations to coordinate their negotiating positions and practices on forest administration and biodiversity safety. The proposal was initially floated throughout final yr’s local weather summit in Glasgow, Scotland, based on the stories.

When requested for particulars on any alliance, together with whether or not it is likely to be introduced throughout the second week of the summit, Silva demurred, making clear that any such announcement wasn’t hers to make.

“We don’t wish to be remoted in our safety of forests,” she stated extra usually, including that Brazil wished forest administration to be coordinated amongst “mega forest international locations” however wouldn’t attempt to impose its will.

Silva gained a seat in Congress in October’s elections. A former childhood rubber-tapper who labored intently with murdered environmentalist Chico Mendes, she has ethical authority on the subject of environmental points and is one in every of a handful of individuals talked about as a attainable minister in da Silva’s authorities.

Whereas making clear she was not talking for the president-elect, Silva shared particulars of what she thought could be a part of the following administration. She stated Brazil wouldn’t take the place that it “needed to be paid” to guard its forests, a place that Bolsonaro’s administration has taken.

Brazil wouldn’t undertake the type of giant power tasks that it did previously underneath Da Silva’s first phrases, like a serious hydropower dam, however as a substitute would deal with a shift to renewable energies like photo voltaic. Alongside the identical strains, she stated there could be a push to transition state oil firm Petrobras from a deal with oil to a deal with renewable energies.

“We have to use these (oil) assets, that are nonetheless wanted, to do a transition to different types of power and never perpetuate the mannequin” of an organization deal with oil, she stated.

Silva stated Brazil would take part in carbon offsets markets, however that they wanted to have “rigorous” oversight, one thing that arguably isn’t the case presently. Such carbon credit enable firms and international locations to offset a few of their carbon emissions by paying for actions that seize carbon, like planting bushes.

Silva additionally stated she had proposed a authorities physique to deal with local weather change, which presumably could be along with the environmental ministry. She stated the thought could be to have shut regulation of climatic modifications so issues could possibly be addressed in actual time, equivalent to greenhouse fuel leaks, or weaknesses in local weather coverage. She made a comparability to the way in which that governments all the time hold a detailed watch on inflation.

“The thought is to keep away from local weather inflation,” she stated.

Related Press author Diane Jeantet contributed to this story from Rio de Janeiro.

Peter Prengaman, the AP’s local weather and setting information director, was Brazil information director between 2016 and 2019. Observe him on Twitter:

Related Press local weather and environmental protection receives help from a number of non-public foundations. See extra about AP’s local weather initiative here. The AP is solely accountable for all content material.

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