Constituent policy

AS/COA Insider: Cecilia Tornaghi on Lula’s global environmental policy

Since his victory Second round of the presidential election in Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took the lead in shaping his third term at Planalto. One of his first acts was to announce that he would attend COP27 in Egypt, sending a signal that environmental issues could be a major issue for his administration.

“The environmentalist world is very eager to hear what Lula has to say,” says Cecilia Tornaghieditorial director of Quarterly Americas and Senior Policy Director at AS/COA. She discusses what Lula might announce in Sharm el-Sheikh, what it will take for Brazil to rebuild its environmental infrastructure, and how the environment will factor into Lula’s global leadership.

AS/COA Online: On his first international trip since winning the second round of elections in Brazil, Lula will travel to Egypt for COP27. What is the meaning of this journey? How do you see it differing from the outgoing government on environmental issues?

Cecile Tornaghi: It’s hard to overstate the significance of President-elect Lula traveling to Egypt to join COP27 in terms of signaling a reversal in Brazil’s environmental direction and policies. Of course, the focus is on the Amazon rainforest and deforestation in particular, but Brazil has several other environmental priorities, including other biomes, clean energy, and biodiversity.

The world of environmentalism is very eager to hear what Lula has to say. Everyone hopes that this U-turn to completely overhaul Brazil’s environmental policy, which it has already announced, will materialize. They hope that he will be able to implement and act on all these ideas and expectations that the world has for Brazil regarding not only its own conservation and environmental policies, but its global leadership on issues. environmental.

AS/COA Online: During COP27, there is a discussion that Lula could revive the idea of ​​an alliance of countries with significant tropical forest which, to start, would involve Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Brazil, because these are three countries that represent more than half of the world’s tropical forests. What is the objective of this plan?

Tornaghi: It’s an interesting idea. Someone coined this idea as the “OPEC rainforestwhich is ironic because OPEC is an oil and fossil group. In any case, it is very interesting and necessary. These three countries met at COP26, but nothing has really happened since. We have actually seen deforestation numbers worsen in all three countries.

Right now the idea is to revamp that conversation and create a group that can negotiate on issues like carbon credits, climate finance and adaptation finance by creating common ground for those negotiations. It could be a very powerful group if Lula goes above and beyond and hosts a world summit in Brazil next year, which he says he wants to do.

A group that can negotiate together on these fronts is a really powerful idea. Of course, its viability very much depends on the political powers that be, and it remains to be seen to what extent they can actually unite. There are also very powerful industries that still have the vision that they need to cut more forests in order to continue to increase their production, whether it is palm oil or cattle in the case of Brazil. This mindset is still present in all these countries, so knowing if we can change the culture around conservation is a bigger challenge than just talking together and negotiating.

There is also a lot of talk of collaboration between the Amazon countries themselves, which already have an organization, but it hasn’t really had much impact at this point. Lula talks about strengthening his work with Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador regarding the Amazon itself, in addition to involving others in this discussion. It’s not just about protecting countries with tropical forests; it is a global responsibility for all countries to support this effort.