Lula’s ambitious plans to save the Amazon clash with reality (The Economist – June 13, 2023)

The Brazilian president faces resistance from Congress, the state oil company and agribusiness

When luiz inácio lula da silva won Brazil’s election last year, climate activists the world over breathed a sigh of relief. His right-wing predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, had gutted the environmental agency, turned a blind eye to illegal gold-mining and undermined indigenous rights.

Lula, by contrast, promised to end illegal deforestation in the Amazon and lead international efforts to halt climate change. On June 5th the left-winger outlined an ambitious plan to stop illegal deforestation in the Amazon by the end of the decade. “There should be no contradiction between economic growth and environmental protection,” he said. Yet Lula’s green agenda is suffering setbacks.

In theory, Brazil is well placed to lead efforts against climate change. In 2019 fully 82% of its electricity was generated from renewable sources, compared with a global average of 29%. Its carbon emissions mainly come from deforestation and agriculture, rather than energy.

Curbing deforestation promises rich rewards. The World Bank estimates that the value of the Amazon rainforest, mainly as a carbon store, is $317bn a year, nearly all the benefits of which accrue to the rest of the world.

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