Brazil’s Lula tells rich countries at summit
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva urged wealthy nations Wednesday to fulfill their unkept promises to fund developing countries’ fight against climate change, at a summit on saving the world’s tropical forests.
Vowing to act as a bloc in future climate negotiations, the eight South American countries that share the Amazon basin and nations from the Caribbean, Africa and Asia called on the industrialized world to do more to protect Earth’s disappearing tropical forests, vital buffers against global warming.
“It’s not that Brazil needs money. It’s not that Colombia or Venezuela need money. Mother Nature needs money, it needs financing, because industrial development has destroyed it over the past 200 years,” Lula told a news conference.
But he and other leaders at the summit faced criticism themselves over their failure to adopt a pledge to stop illegal deforestation in the Amazon by 2030 and ban new oil exploration, as climate campaigners and Indigenous groups had urged.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) expressed its “great concern at the lack of a common goal to end deforestation” at the closely watched summit. Brazil’s main Indigenous organization meanwhile chastised leaders for not doing more to protect native lands, which experts say are one of the best defenses for forests.
“We hope all this effort at dialogue won’t come down to empty words,” said the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples (APIB). The two-day summit was a key test for veteran leftist Lula, who returned to office in January.