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Lula speaks at COP27. Photo: Ricardo Stuckert

You may or may not like Lula, but it is unquestionable, for those familiar with the environment and climate diplomacy, that his participation at COP27 was a success.
He has committed to zero deforestation in all biomes by 2030. Brazil's current goal is to eliminate illegal deforestation in the Amazon by 2028. Lula's pledge addresses concerns about other biomes such as the Cerrado, the Pantanal and the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest).
Even more important than making promises, he recalled that, as a result of the policies adopted during his two terms in office, deforestation in the Amazon decreased by 83%, while the agricultural GDP grew by 75% between 2004 and 2012. With this equation, Lula proved that the dilemma between environmental preservation and economic prosperity is false. And that he has the credentials to deliver to the world the necessary environmental safeguards to avoid the ban on imports of Brazilian commodities, as threatened by the United States and the European Union.
Lula also called on rich countries to fulfill their commitments to help poor countries face the effects of climate change, such as drought, desertification, floods and rising sea levels, eliminate illegal deforestation and make the transition to less polluting energy sources. This is a sore point, which caused the delay in the end of the summit, scheduled initially for this Friday, due to the lack of consensus for the final communiqué.
Lula's prestige and the importance that the world gives to Brazil on this issue are reflected in the meetings he had at the conference: with representatives for climate change from the United States, John Kerry, from China, Xie Zhen Hua, and from the European Union, Frans Timmermans, and with the UN Secretary General, António Guterres.
Lula launched Brazil's candidacy to host the COP30, in 2025, in one of the Amazon states. Brazil was scheduled to be the host in 2019, but President Jair Bolsonaro did not express interest. COP30 is slated to take place in Spain. Lula met with the Spanish Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera. In addition, he has a good relationship with the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, who met with him a year ago on Lula's tour of Europe and expressed support for his candidacy in the second round in October.
The path then seemed paved for Spain to give up its place, even more so because COP25, the one that did not come to Brazil, took plance in Madrid. But a stumbling block came in the way: Andalusia's governor, Juanma Moreno, sent a letter to Sánchez asking that the important Spanish province, whose capital is Seville, be the host of COP30. It's a thorny issue, because Moreno belongs to the opposition Popular Party. How will Sánchez manage to yield to Brazil without giving the impression that he would rather listen to the request of a foreign leader than a political opponent?
Another sign of the success of Lula's strategy were the statements by French President Emmanuel Macron: “I fervently hope that we can have a COP in the Amazon, so I fully support this initiative by Mr. Lula. I support the return of Brazil to an Amazon strategy”. Macron defined France as an “Amazonian power”, and said that the longest border of a European country outside the European Union is the border between French Guiana and Brazil. “I was waiting with great impatience for this moment so that we could relaunch a strategic partnership worthy of our history.”
When I spoke about this on CNN, some people reacted on social media, saying that France is not recovering its forests, and therefore Macron has no right to “meddle” in Brazilian affairs. This is not true: Macron announced last month the creation of a fund of 150 million euros destined to the plantation, by 2030, of 1 billion trees, which represents 10% of French forests.
But even if it were true that Macron was doing nothing to restore French forests, why would that be a reason for us to destroy ours? This is a reaction that says a lot about the mentality of a part of Brazilians, that deforesting is good for Brazil. Thus, the decision not to deforest would mean yielding in an unacceptable way to international pressure.
We have a lot of work to do.
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News of the Week
in partnership with Curto News

Record deforestation
Deforestation in the Amazon broke a record for the month of October, since the beginning of the historical series of the Deter program, by Inpe (National Institute for Space Research). The area was 904 km² (349 square miles), 3% more than in October last year (877 km², or 339 square miles), which was the previous record for the month. As is commonly the case, Pará was the state that most deforested, almost half of the total area.

Cerrado water
If the destruction of the Cerrado continues at the current rate, 34% of the water volume of the biome could be lost by 2050. The conclusion is in the study “The heavy impact of deforestation and climate change on the streamflows of the Brazilian Cerrado biome and a worrying future ”, released by the
ISPN (Society, Population and Nature Institute). According to the study, deforestation for monoculture and pasture is the main responsible for the decrease in river flow.

Building emissions
The increase in construction activities around the world has raised the sector's carbon dioxide emissions to a record 10 gigatons last year. At this rate, the sector will not meet its decarbonization targets by 2050, according to the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program).

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