Lula calls on leaders to attend climate talks

Ed Crooks in London and Fiona Harvey-Financial Times, 11/05/09

Brazil’s president has challenged other world leaders to attend next month’s climate talks in Copenhagen to break the deadlock in negotiations to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told the Financial Times he would speak to Barack Obama, US president, next week to urge him and other leaders to go to Copenhagen on December 16-17, the final days of the talks, to save them from failure.

Read more…

Brazil should set multi-sector GHG target: senator

Point Carbon reports on the conference “The Road to Copenhagen: Perspectives on Brazil, China, and India,” which was sponsored by the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and the Environmental Defense Fund.

The conference hosted speakers: Marina Silva, Senator for the Brazilian Amazon state of Acre; Kenneth G. Lieberthal, Director, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution; and Raymond E. Vickery Jr., Senior Vice-President, Albright Stonebridge Group.

Click to see Point Carbon’s article, “Brazil should set multi-sector GHG target.”

EVENT: The Road to Copenhagen: Perspectives on Brazil, China and India

The Brazil Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,

Environmental Defense Fund


Ronald Reagan International Trade Center

Invite you to a panel discussion on

The Road to Copenhagen:

Perspectives on Brazil, China and India

Monday, October 26th – 3:30 to 5:30 PM,

Ronald Reagan International Convention Center

Pavilion Room, 2nd floor

Please find directions to the venue at the end of this post


Simultaneous translation will be provided


Speakers: Marina Silva, Senator for the Brazilian Amazon state of Acre; Kenneth G. Lieberthal, Director, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institute; Raymond E. Vickery Jr., Senior Vice-President, Albright Stonebridge Group.

Moderators: Paulo Sotero, Director, Brazil Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center; Stephan Schwartzman, Director for Tropical Forest Policy, Environmental Defense Fund.

As we approach the December 2009 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Copenhagen, the newly industrializing countries of Brazil, China and India debate internally what efforts they are prepared to make to curb the increase of their carbon emissions. Home of the world’s largest forest, Brazil resists internationally-established mandatory emissions cuts but is committed to drastically reduce deforestation, its principal source of carbon emissions.  Hungry for energy to fuel its expanding economy, China, the largest carbon emitting country, has recently emerged as a leader in technologies for a lower carbon economy, including cleaner-burning coal. And India, whose emissions are still among the lowest in the world, but with a fast expanding economy and the desire to bring energy to its growing population, works to  position itself as a “deal maker, not a deal breaker”  in Copenhagen.

The evolving domestic debates and international posture of these three emerging powers on climate change will be the subject a conference jointly sponsored by the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. Marina Silva, a leader of the Brazilian environmental movement and former Minister of Environment of Brazil, recently left the Workers Party and is seen as a potential Green Party candidate for the Brazilian presidential elections of 2010. Kenneth G. Lieberthal, preeminent China scholar, served as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and senior director for Asia on the National Security Council from August 1998 to October 2000. Raymond E. Vickery Jr. is widely known for his work promoting U.S.-India economic cooperation and served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development, where he launched the U.S.-India Commercial Alliance. He is a former Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar.

This event will take place at Pavilion Room of the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center.


If taking Metro
Go to Federal Triangle on the Orange/Blue line. Walk straight ahead once exiting the station. Go up the escalators to the Ronald Reagan Plaza. You will see Aria Restaurant to your right. Walk straight ahead through the Plaza and on the other side you see a building entrance. Enter the building there; clear security. Walk down the hall make a right then proceed down the hall to the business office on your left. There is a sign on the corner that indicates where the elevator is to your left. Take it to 2nd floor.

Brazil Struggles to Reach Consensus in Preparation for Copenhagen Climate Meeting

Vannildo Mendes-O Estado de São Paulo, 10/14/09

The Minister of Justice, Tarso Genro, commented this Wednesday on the current struggle in the Brazilian government between “developers” and “environmentalists.” Genro sided with Brazil’s Minister of Environment, Carlos Minc. In an interview, Genro said that he approved Minc’s goals to reduce deforestation by 80% by 2020 and stabilize the levels of carbon emission: “They [the goals] are reasonable and they have my support. I think that this is the destiny of humanity – a development model with sustainability. I am a man of sustainable development.”

In a long meeting, last Tuesday, President Lula, Minc, and Chief of Staff Dilma Rousseff could not reach an agreement about the position Brazil’s should adopt in upcoming climate negotiations  in Copenhagen this December. The main point of disagreement rested in estimating the projection of economic growth. Minc adapted his goals expecting 4% of economic growth per year; Dilma disagreed and demanded that the goals of carbon reduction take into account growth rates of 5% or 6%.

Read full article (in Portuguese).

In Copenhagen, Marina insists that Brazil rise up to ambitious environmental goals

O Estado de São Paulo, 10/11/09

With 57 days until the opening of the 15th Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, the senator and the Brazilian Green Party’s pre-candidate for Presidency, Marina Silva, intensifies the tone against President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s environmental politics, and she insisted that Brazil rise up to ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Marina, who previously was the Minister of Environment under President Lula, defended that the country can adopt a zero deforestation policy, proposed by Greenpeace that was rejected by the President last week.

Marina made this statement last Saturday in Monte Carlo, where she received the Prince Albert II Award for her environmental militancy. Marina was one of the honorable invites to the awards ceremony, that also gave prizes to people such as the North American sociobiologist Edward Osborne Wilson. Called to the stage, the ex-Minister heard praise from Prince Albert II, that paid tribute to “Somebody that works with courage and intelligence for the defense of the environment.” Continue reading “In Copenhagen, Marina insists that Brazil rise up to ambitious environmental goals”

FT interview transcript: Marina Silva

Jonathan Wheatley-Financial Times, 10/06/09

Photo by Flickr user Visionshare

Flickr user Visionshare from the Sophie Prize Foundation

Jonathan Wheatley, the FT’s Brazil correspondent, interviewed Marina Silva in her office in Brazil’s Senate on September 18. Ms Silva, who was elected to the Senate for the first time in 1994, was Brazil’s environment minister between January 2003 and May 2008, when she left in frustration at what she saw as the failure of other ministries to give due concern to environmental issues. She was a founder member in 1980 of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s leftwing Workers’ Party (PT) but left the party in August this year at the height of a corruption scandal involving José Sarney, president of the Senate, after Mr Lula da Silva threw his support behind Mr Sarney, a former political adversary. She has since joined the Green Party and is widely expected to run as its candidate in presidential elections next October.

FT: What do you expect of the Copenhagen meeting? What should Brazil demand of developed nations and what should it hope to achieve?

MS: First, I think we need to have a political posture that is coherent with what we want to demand. This means we should first make the effort internally to ensure that Brazil is committed to targets but that these should be global targets, not just for reducing deforestation but covering all sectors that produce emissions. How this will be done, how we will do the distribution, is something that needs to be worked on internally with transparency, involving the government, society, businesses and academia. I think this is a sine qua non.

Another aspect is that we have to reduce emissions in a way that ensures that temperatures rise by a maximum of two degrees, meaning a maximum of 450 particles per million [the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere regarded as a threshold beyond which global warming becomes irreversible]. This means a big effort by developed countries. And the architecture necessary to make this possible for developed countries should also allow emerging countries to make their contribution, so that we can reach this target at the global level and, by 2020, have a very strong signal that we are going to be able to achieve this by the middle of the century.

Read full interview…

Brazil urged to lead the way at climate summit

Jonathan Wheatley-Financial Times, 10/06/09

Brazil’s former environment minister has launched a broadside against the government’s policies in the countdown to the UN climate change conference in December.

Marina Silva, who resigned from the ministry last year over what she saw as the failure of other ministers to take environmental issues seriously, said President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s leftwing government should lead by example at the Copenhagen summit.

She believes Brazil should commit itself to greenhouse gas reduction targets as part of global undertakings to push for slower rates of deforestation alongside cuts in industrial emissions by rich countries. “We should ensure that Brazil is committed to targets but these should be global targets – not just for reducing deforestation but covering all sectors that produce emissions,” she told the Financial Times.

Read more…

Leaders From Indonesia, Brazil Join 3 U.S. States in Deforestation Accord

Colin Sullivan-New York Times, 10/05/09

Three U.S. governors and eight regional leaders from Brazil and Indonesia have drafted a memorandum they intend to make official today that calls on the presidents of their nations to write generous forestry provisions into an international climate change pact in Copenhagen in December.

According to a copy of the memo secured last night by E&E, the 11 states have agreed to press their national governments for a series of “robust” deforestation provisions during talks on a treaty that could succeed the Kyoto Protocol. The states have been working together on the matter since November 2008.

In Kyoto, the signatories of the memo note, greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation were ignored, much to the detriment of tropical rainforests that have since contracted around the world. “This must change,” the memo states. “Forests must play a fundamental role in the effort to solve [the climate change] problem.”

Read more…

Brazil Defends Program of Carbon Credit for the Recovery of Deforested Land

Marcia Carmo-BBC Brasil, 10/29/09

Brazil’s Minister of the Environment, Carlos Minc, announced this Tuesday that Brazil will bring a proposal to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen that will establish the recovery of already deforested lands as away to gain carbon credit and other resources for countries that adopt the initiative.

“Today, if you stop deforestation, you can gain credit. If you diminish the harmful consequences of coal, you gain credit. However, if you recuperate the land already degraded, you do not gain credit,” declared the Minister.

Upon presenting the proposal during the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the United Nations
Convention to Combat Desertification in Buenos Aires, Minc affirmed that the existence of techniques to recuperate land suffering from desertification, such as “Green Fertilization” that revitalizes the soil by “sucking” the carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it underneath the earth.

“Before, when rich countries spoke of reducing emissions, they thought basically only about fossil fuel combustibles and not in deforestation. However, when the earth is being degraded and becoming semi-arid to arid to deserted, this releases a huge amount of carbon,” says Minc.

According to the Minister, the idea of credits to recuperate the desert was well received and applauded by the participants at the meeting, a majority from African countries. He also presented a proposal of this proposition on Tuesday to the Ministers of Environment of Mercosul.

See full article in Portuguese…

President Lula’s Speech at United Nations General Assembly

The president of Brazil, Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva, presented this statement at the General Debate of the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2009. Below are some highlights from the speech and a link to the full speech transcript in English.

“We cannot shovel away the rubble of failure; we must be the midwives to the future!”

“Three perils haunt our planet: the ongoing economic crisis, the lack of stable, representative world governance and the threat of climate change for all of our lives.”

“Exactly one year ago, at the onset of the crisis that overtook the world economy, I said from this tribune that history would never forgive us for the serious blunder of dealing only with the impacts rather than the causes of the crisis.”

“Rich countries are putting off reform at multilateral agencies like the IMF and the World Bank. We simply cannon understand the paralysis of the Doha Round, whose conclusion will above all benefit poor countries. There are also worrisome signs of return to protectionist practices, while little has been done to fix tax havens.”

“Poor and developing countries must increase their share of control in the IMF and the World Bank. Otherwise, there can be no real change and the peril of new and greater crises will be inevitable.” Continue reading “President Lula’s Speech at United Nations General Assembly”