Brazilian President Lula will propose the creation of a fund intended to preserve tropical forests in some 80 countries during COP28 scheduled for next week in Dubai, the Brazilian Minister of the Environment announced Thursday, November 23.

The initiative consists of “a payment mechanism per standing forest, per hectare, to help protect the tropical forests of the 80 countries” that have them on their territory, Marina Silva said during a seminar on the evaluation and improving public spending in Brasilia.

The Brazilian government presented the idea this week to other members of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), a socio-environmental bloc it shares with seven other countries home to the world’s largest rainforest. . The fund constitutes “a simple architecture (…) innovative and efficient” underlined Ms. Silva. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to deliver details of the proposal at the 28th United Nations climate conference from November 30 to December 12 in the United Arab Emirates.

The left-wing leader reiterated that industrialized countries must take responsibility for their pollution and deforestation by contributing financially to the conservation of forests and jungles.

The mechanism differs from the Amazon Fund already implemented, administered by the Public Development Bank (BNDES). The new international fund would be managed by “a multilateral financial institution,” Ms. Silva suggested, according to comments cited by local media.

Increasing agricultural areas in Brazil without deforestation

Roberto Perosa, secretary in charge of trade and international relations within the Ministry of Agriculture, declared during another press conference that Brazil will present at COP28 a plan aimed at increasing the agricultural surface of his country without deforestation, through the conversion of pasture land.

“We did a study and counted almost 160 million hectares of grazing areas. Of this total, around 40 million hectares are located in degraded pasture areas, but very suitable for crops. So, with a certain investment in the soil, this land can be converted into arable area,” Mr. Perosa explained during an online press conference with international media.

In ten years, the government plans to invest $120 billion and expand Brazil’s growing areas, from 65 to 105 million hectares, without deforestation. “We are going to carry out the expansion without cutting down any trees,” said the manager, referring to a “great revolution”. According to him, private initiative currently makes it possible to convert nearly one and a half million hectares each year.

Left-wing President Lula, who returned to power in January, has made the defense of the environment, and in particular the Amazon, a strong axis of his action, particularly internationally. But he also wants to enable the growth of the powerful agro-trading sector, while Brazil has become an agricultural giant.

Sharp increase in greenhouse gas emissions under Bolsonaro

Deforestation in the Amazon accelerated under his far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, who encouraged the expansion of mining and agricultural activities in the region. Lula has promised to eradicate illegal deforestation by 2030.

According to an NGO report published Thursday, greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil also increased sharply during Mr. Bolsonaro’s mandate, erasing the progress made to return to the level of around fifteen years previously.

During the four years of Bolsonaro’s presidency (2019-2022), Latin America’s largest country emitted 9.4 billion tons of greenhouse gases, surpassing the nine billion threshold for the first time since the period. 2003-2006. These data were compiled in an annual report by the Climate Observatory, a Brazilian collective of NGOs.

In 2022, Brazilian emissions fell by 8%, to 2.3 billion tonnes, but this volume is the third highest since 2005, after that of 2019 and 2021, other years of Jair Bolsonaro’s mandate.