The victory of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in the Brazilian presidential election marks a watershed moment in global politics of climate change. As is widely known, Lula will replace outgoing president and climate change denier Jair Bolsonaro with a legacy of environmental destruction. During his four-year tenure, deforestation in the Amazon increased by more than 50%.Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, mitigate global warming By absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Scientists warn that human-induced deforestation at the current rate will push entire biomes to a tipping point, after which forestlands will become savannahs. lose such major Carbon sinks have devastating impacts on biodiversity and human well-being in Brazil and beyond.
Lula ran a campaign promise to bring deforestation the level of Amazon down to zero. The question is whether he can actually deliver. Brazil developed addiction deforestation. of The president-elect needs to muster all the support he can find.
What Lula is up against
Promotion of environmental collapse in the The Amazon is a loose but effective political coalition that brings together ranchers, commodity exporters, When mining company. Together, these actors are lobbying members of the Brazilian Congress to relax existing laws and regulations to protect the rainforest. They block climate protection policies and pressure state officials to withhold fines and penalties for environmental crimes.
coalition exerts power influence By funding the campaigns of ambitious politicians and helping them vote. This gives them influence over all branches of government. As a result, Brazilian states are less able to enact environmental protection. The Amazon Deforestation Coalition acts with impunity because it is backed by politicians who help elect.
The coalition also benefits from the indirect support of more brooding actors. In the vast Amazon region, criminal gangs smuggle commodities such as drugs, timber, wildlife and even humans. They bribe and appease state officials so that the rainforest is loosely policed. Their illicit economic activities rely on the construction and access of covert airstrips, waterways, and border crossings, motivating them to keep security forces away from their areas of operation.
Lawlessness in the Amazon skyrocketed under Bolsonaro’s watch.
during his tenure Bolsonaro strengthened the deforestation coalition’s hand by issuing a series of executive orders repealing the rules and institutions protecting rainforests. He also cut budget allocations for environmental protection agencies. This has succeeded in dismantling many of the capabilities of the Brazilian state. Internationally, Bolsonaro has pulled out of multilateral climate negotiations in which Brazil has led the developing world for decades. He also dissolved the governing body of the Amazon Fund, an organization that allowed foreign countries to provide resources to fund climate action.
Not surprisingly, lawlessness in the Amazon surged under Bolsonaro’s watch. This violence was not confined to the assassination of a vocal climate activist. Between 2018 and his 2020, homicide rates increased by 9% in rural areas of the Amazon and 13.8% in small towns, while violent deaths declined in other parts of Brazil. Violent crime is particularly prevalent in areas of the rainforest where deforestation is common. Local governments with high deforestation rates have 48% higher death rates from violence than areas with low deforestation rates.
Lula will face stiff opposition in his efforts to end deforestation. His estimated 40% of newly elected parliamentary seats are held by politicians representing interest groups that would suffer if truly effective protections were put into place. They will work hard to block climate legislation and the allocation of funds to protect the Amazon. Moreover, the government’s financial situation is dire. Brazil’s public funds are running out of cash at a time when investment is needed to rebuild the state’s capacity to protect forests.
Lula also plans to advance his climate policy at a time when the global consumer economy demands more deforestation, not less. Markets in Europe, the United States, and especially China have created strong incentives to clear deforested areas of Brazilian agricultural products such as soybeans and beef, clearing trees and setting fires to clear land.
What Lula Can Do
Lula has a track record of defeating the forces driving deforestation. From 2003 to 2010, when he was president, he did a great job of: Reducing carbon emissions from deforestation. He appointed renowned environmentalist Marina Silva and coordinated major efforts to develop a climate protection coalition. This group included responsible commodity producers, activists, social organizers, religious leaders, indigenous peoples, compassionate prosecutors, judges, mayors and governors.
Lula’s policy increased the cost of breaking the law by expanding legally protected zones within the Amazon and strengthening police capacity. gaveBrazil at the time $1 billion from Germany and Norway under the Amazon Fund for forest protection. As a result, deforestation A 76% decrease between 2005 and 2012.
Biden should not publicly “name and shame” Brazil over deforestation in the Amazon.
However, these reforms were short-lived. This is because climate change policy has proven to create severe divisions within the Lula camp. In particular, Lula’s decision to green light the construction of the Belomonte Dam on the Amazon River in 2010 enraged environmentalists and indigenous rights groups. Lula claimed the dam would create jobs in impoverished areas of the country, but it displaced some 50,000 indigenous people and wreaked havoc on the region’s flora and fauna. Lula also vetoed provisions of the then-new National Climate Act that called for phasing out fossil fuels. There is no doubt that the Brazilian oil and gas sector is growing.Contradiction in government policy has led prominent environmentalists to management Resign in protest. Within a few years Amazon deforestation picked up againa trend that accelerated significantly under Bolsonaro.
When he begins his next term, Lula will again have to make peace with his competitors. interest. Dedicated environmentalists vie for influence Member of the Deforestation Coalition, who are you against Any Expensive transition to low carbon economy. Cattle ranchers, miners, and commodity exporters dominate the economic activity of the Amazon, a vast region of about 30 million inhabitants, so they have influence over the president. there is no doubt. The risk is policy inaction that fails to curb the alarming rate of deforestation.
Commitment point tensions in government It becomes a diplomatic strategy.Some Lula Advisors Claim He Should internationally committed to more ambitious carbon emission targets, US and European Union locked in Domestic climate reform. this right means working together Washington and Brussels create regulated global carbon marketsmake it beneficial to Landowners all over the world who trade forest– Preservation service.
Others in Lula’s camp would rather avoid ambitious carbon emission targets, Keep the United States and the European Union away.they would like Brazil will extract more aid from wealthy countries before it commits to curbing deforestation. One way to do this is Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, 1995 A diplomatic initiative led by Brazil to coordinate actions against its South American neighbors and rainforests. Another proposal is to build a diplomatic coalition with the Democratic Republic. of Congo and Indonesia – two other countries with vast forest cover – secure concessions from the developed countries of the Global North.
what usa can
US President Joe Biden important A role to help Lula reach her climate change goals. First and foremost, Biden should involve Brazil and others in creating a regulated global carbon market that would not exist without US leadership. Second, the United States will work with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to help Brazil develop a viable strategy to compensate Amazonian residents who stand to lose their livelihoods if deforestation recedes. should work to do so.
Finally, Biden should try not to publicly “name and shame” Brazil over Amazon deforestation, as the danger of fueling a nationalist backlash is real.Brazilians overwhelmingly believe that climate change is caused by human activity, but according to the research we conducted, they Also We believe that foreigners cannot be trusted when it comes to protecting the Amazon rainforest. In fact, a staggering 95% of Brazilians criticize Brazil for managing the Amazon, doing so for ulterior motives such as exploiting the forest’s wealth for their own economic gain. I believe.This belief holds true Partisan and ideological lines.the white house should Lula needs to be sensitive to this dynamic if she wants to maximize her chances of winning A domestic interest group profiting from environmental destruction that endangers the planet.