Brazil: Presidential Election, Saving the Amazon, and Combating Climate Change
Views from the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force
By Jason Gray and Colleen Scanlan Lyons
Co-Project Directors, GCF Task Force
Yesterday, the people of Brazil had a historic vote in favor of returning President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) to power. Lula, who served as President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010 (and is the primary President in Brazil to return for a 3rd term), is thought for his support of governmental policies that favor the environment and disenfranchised social groups. Deforestation within the Amazon dropped significantly (by over 70%) during Lula’s last two terms, while it has surged (by over 70%) under President Bolsonaro. Scientists have warned that this surge threatens a “tipping point” for the Amazon, which might have devastating impacts not just for Brazil, but for the world.
On this election, Lula ran on a platform vowing to curb illegal deforestation and mining within the Amazon and support Indigenous and native level community interests and involvement in forest management. As he said in his victory speech yesterday, “Brazil is able to resume its leading role within the fight against the climate crisis.” And as we all know, if the Amazon goes, the worldwide community loses the fight again climate change.
Lula’s victory gives rise to an ideal deal of hope for a return to policies and programs that protect the Amazon and respect and advance the rights of Indigenous Peoples. At the identical time, Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party saw gains within the senate and lower house, which demonstrates the difficult political dynamics on this country of greater than 200 million people. Ensuring close engagement and collaborative efforts between the brand new national government and subnational governments will probably be key to successful environmental and sustainable economic development within the years to return.
To that end, and of potential interest to Legal-Planet readers, the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF Task Force) – a project of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law and UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, in partnership with the Institute of Behavioral Science on the University of Colorado, Boulder – will proceed to advance partnerships between the nine Brazilian state governments who’re members of our unique subnational collaboration of 39 states and provinces working to guard tropical forests, reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and promote realistic pathways to forest-maintaining rural development. The GCF Task Force is desperate to work with the incoming Lula administration in Brazil in addition to with all levels – and parties – of Brazil’s government to advertise the people, forest, and climate agenda that the Amazon, and the world, so desperately needs.
The GCF Task Force will proceed to strengthen our partnership with the Consortium of Amazonian Governors and congratulates GCF Task Force reelected and incoming Governors, whose leadership will determine the long run of the Amazon. Under the Manaus Motion Plan for a Recent Forest Economy, adopted on the GCF Task Force Annual Meeting in Manaus in March 2022, the GCF Task Force looks forward to working with these Governors, with their civil servants, with Secretaries of the Environment and other key state-level leaders in economics, planning, and social departments. We also stay up for continuing our partnerships with the federal government of Norway, which with the election of Lula is exploring the return of the Amazon Fund (halted since 2019), and to strengthening partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and area people leaders, with NGOs, with government agencies, and personal sector partners. Under the GCF Task Force theory of change, only by working together can we promote viable mechanisms for reducing poverty and deforestation within the Brazilian Amazon and forge a pathway forward that protects forests and advantages people.