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HomeBusinessBrazil's climate image overshadowed by controversial oil investment

Brazil’s climate image overshadowed by controversial oil investment

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Brazil’s newly appointed minister for indigenous peoples, Sônia Guajajara, has stated that the country is working to restore its climate credibility and prevent the Amazon rainforest from reaching a tipping point. Since taking office earlier this year, leftist Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has made significant progress in reversing the trend of deforestation in the Amazon. The rate of deforestation in Brazil has fallen to its lowest level in six years, signaling Lula’s commitment to achieving zero deforestation in the Amazon by 2030. However, the government has faced criticism for its plans to open new oil fields near the mouth of the Amazon River. Guajajara emphasized the need to rebuild infrastructure and institutions to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and preserve the environmental agency IBAMA and the indigenous affairs agency FUNAI.

The Amazon rainforest plays a crucial role in absorbing carbon dioxide and mitigating climate change. Approximately 60% of the rainforest is located in Brazil, which is the world’s sixth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Guajajara praised Lula’s dedication to reducing deforestation and poverty and his commitment to protecting the Amazon in the fight against the climate crisis. Brazil plans to showcase its achievements at the upcoming COP28 climate conference, where Lula intends to demand that wealthy nations contribute their fair share to rainforest protection and support the local population. However, the government’s plans to invest billions in the oil and gas sector, particularly offshore drilling, have drawn criticism from environmental activists. Indigenous leader Txai Surui expressed concern about the potential development of oil near the mouth of the Amazon River and urged Brazil to follow Colombia’s example in refusing to approve new oil and gas exploration projects.

While Brazil has seen progress in decreasing deforestation, the country still faces a critical situation. Unusually high temperatures have plagued Brazil, with recent days seeing temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius. Scientists warn that extreme events combined with rising stress levels could cause the Amazon rainforest to reach its tipping point sooner than predicted. This tipping point refers to thresholds where small changes can trigger drastic shifts in Earth’s life support system. Guajajara described the situation as an emergency, emphasizing the need for action from individuals, corporations, and governments to avoid reaching this tipping point.

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