#TrendingNews Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World News
Brazil's Climate Commitments at COP28: Balancing Ambition, Politics, and Challenges

Brazil’s President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, highlighted the fight against climate change as a priority of his administration during his campaign in 2022. Amidst controversies and critiques on Brazil’s growing oil and gas sectors, Lula claimed Brazil should fill the leadership vacuum in tackling climate policy in Dec. at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP28.


In anticipation of the climate conference, the Brazilian government announced its plan to send 2,400 registered participants, the largest delegation in its history.Brazil has attempted to lead by example by adjusting its climate goals to be more ambitious, setting a deadline to end Amazon deforestation by 2030, and reducing deforestation in the Amazon by 20% since Lula’s inauguration. These efforts were undermined by the Brazilian energy minister’s later announcement that Brazil will be joining Opec, the world’s biggest oil cartel, as an observer. 


Alexandre Silveira’s announcement politically undermined the president’s campaign at the environmental conference, highlighting the domestic political issues still rampant in Brazil. Despite Lula’s strides in environmental policy, there have been larger challenges within the government and the country to overcome since coming into office.


COP28 was a platform for the Brazilian president to campaign for further collaboration and greater commitments to protecting rainforests, but even before attending, doubts from his electorate arose. 


Dinamam Tuxá, the executive coordinator for the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), expressed her concerns about Lula’s ability to gather political support from his majority-conservative Congress. Having a coalition government creates challenges to approving public policy for the indigenous population, half of whom live in the Amazon. In the past year, the lack of governability has been seen in Brazil’s Congress voting to restrict the powers of federal agencies dedicated to Indigenous peoples and the environment.


While these image and governability issues exist, Lula arrived at COP28 with an objective: “set up a global fund to finance forest conservation to raise $250 billion from sovereign wealth funds and other investors, including the oil industry.” The proposal, called “Tropical Forests Forever,” is meant to fill a gap in financing mechanisms in fighting climate change. Hoping to position Brazil as a climate leader before COP 30, which the country will host, Lula defended the “world’s most ambitious climate goal,” limiting global heating to 1.5C. However, following the COP28 conference, Brazil is set to stage an auction for oil drilling blocks in ecologically sensitive areas, says Carol Pasquali of Greenpeace. While making grand statements at COP28 as well as calling on politicians ranging from leftwing climate justice campaigners to rightwing agribusiness advocates to join him, signals a change in policy from Lula’s predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, the paradoxical political actions surrounding the conference serve only to undermine the Brazilian president’s legitimacy. The proposal itself, while ambitious, is a refreshing change of pace in the right direction at the helm of a developing country, which is arguably more adept at tackling forest conservation, with the majority of the Amazon rainforest being in Brazil. In response to reporters asking for clarification on Brazil joining OPEC+, Lula said it would not be a full member but an observer, hoping to influence rich oil countries to aid developing countries in Africa and Latin America to invest in renewable energy. Furthermore, Lula clarified that “there is no contradiction” as an observational capacity will convince the members of OPEC+ to invest money made from oil in nullifying it and creating alternatives.


Petrobras, brazil’s state-run petroleum company, will not stop oil explorations since fossil fuels continue to play vital roles in the global economy, said Lula, adding that Petrobras will continue to help Brazil grow but expand beyond just oil to all energy.


In summary, Brazil's climate policy at COP28 reflects a mix of ambition, political contradictions, and internal challenges. President Lula's environmental commitment is evident in ambitious proposals, but internal politics, exemplified by joining OPEC as an observer, highlights conflicting priorities. Concerns about political support and governance issues persist, particularly with a conservative Congress. The proposal for a global fund, "Tropical Forests Forever," signals positive change but faces skepticism due to post-COP28 oil drilling plans. Lula's diplomatic efforts to influence OPEC+ add complexity. As Brazil aims to host COP30, addressing internal hurdles is crucial for global credibility and achieving meaningful climate progress.


Share This Post On


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in