Presidential candidate Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva could be Brazil’s last hope to save the environment.
Lula has been elected the next president of Brazil, in a stunning comeback following a tight run-off race on Sunday. His victory heralds a political about-face for Latin America’s largest country, after four years of Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right administration.
The 76-year-old politician’s win represents the return of the left into power in Brazil, and concludes a triumphant personal comeback for Lula da Silva, after a series of corruption allegations lead to his imprisonment for 580 days. The sentences were later annulled by the Supreme Court, clearing his path to run for reelection.
“They tried to bury me alive and I’m here,” he said in a jubilant speech to supporters and journalists on Sunday evening, describing the win as his political “resurrection.”
The Amazon and climate leadership
Environmentalists meanwhile will be watching Lula da Silva’s administration closely, as it assumes governance not only over the Brazilian nation but over the planet’s largest forest reserves.
With destruction of the vast Amazon rainforest reaching record levels under Bolsonaro’s presidency, Lula da Silva has repeatedly said during his campaign that he would seek to curb deforestation. He has argued that protecting the forest could produce some profit, citing the beauty and pharmaceutical industries as potential beneficiaries of biodiversity.
In an interview with foreign press in August, Lula da Silva called for “a new world governance” to address climate change and stressed that Brazil should take a central role in that governance, given its natural resources.
According to the head of Lula da Silva’s government plan, Aloizio Mercadante, another tactic will be to create a group including Brazil, Indonesia and Congo ahead of the UN-led November 2022 Conference of Parties. The group would aim to pressure richer countries to finance the protection of forests as well as outlining strategies for the global carbon market.
Several experts told CNN they believed his stance on environment and the climate issue could represent a fresh start in Brazil’s international relations.
For Amparo, environmental protection could indeed be springboard for Brazil’s global leadership, a major shift after Bolsonaro warned the world away from intervening in the destruction of the Amazon.
“Lula would try to reposition, almost like a rebranding, Brazil in the international arena as a power to be taken into account,” he said.
“We can expect a government that goes back to talking to the world, especially with a new stance in the environmental area,” said Melo, the Insper researcher.
Reporting contributed by CNN’s Rodrigo Pedroso and Julia Vargas Jones.
Original source: https://edition.cnn.com