Nov 18, 2022

President Elect Lula to Prioritize Preservation of Amazon Rainforest

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Brazil's President Elect, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula), has indicated that preservation of the Amazon rainforest will be a priority for his administration. While attending the COP27 environmental conference in Egypt, Lula and his vice president, Geraldo Alckmin, stated that reducing deforestation will be a top priority.

They indicated that reducing deforestation is the quickest way for Brazil to reach its reduced carbon emissions goal. In Brazil, carbon emissions from transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, etc. combined account for slightly more than 50% of Brazil greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation itself account for approximately the other 50%.

In recent years, deforestation in Brazil reached all-time highs under the administration of Jair Bolsonaro who emphasized development in the Amazon region rather than preservation. The Bolsonaro administration reduced funding and staffing for environmental and indigenous agencies. Lula has pledged to restore and strengthen these agencies going forward.

As part of that pledge, Lula has already announced a series of meeting with governors from the Amazon region to develop a comprehensive long-range plan for the region. He has indicated that he will emphasize sustainability and increasing productivity on land that has already been cleared. Brazil has millions of hectares of degraded pastures that can be converted to row crop production, which will reduce the pressure to clear new land.

Lula's goal is not limited to just the tropical forests in Brazil. He has also announced that Brazil will partner with Indonesia and Congo to help preserve the three largest areas of tropical rainforest in the world.

Part of the overall plan is to utilize resources from richer countries to help reduce deforestation in Brazil. Contributing countries developed the Amazon Fund, which was created in 2008 as a way for richer countries help combat deforestation in the lowland Amazon region. In 2019, Germany and Norway suspended the distribution of money from the Amazon Fund due to the anti-environmental and anti-indigenous policies of President Bolsonaro.

The Amazon Fund currently contains R$ 3 billion reals (approximately$570 million) and Germany and Norway announced that the funds will be released the day after Lula assumes power on January 1, 2023.