Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Lula arrives at Cop27 to deliver message that ‘Brazil is back’

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who won Brazil's presidential election in October, is meeting climate envoys and leaders in Egypt Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who won Brazil's presidential election in October, is meeting climate envoys and leaders in Egypt
  • The president-elect is meeting officials from the US, China and EU
  • Lula hopes to restore his country’s reputation on environmental issues

Bringing the message that “Brazil is back” in the fight against global warming, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrived at Cop27 in Egypt on Tuesday – his first foreign trip since his presidential election victory.

Brazil’s president-elect planned to hold meetings with envoys from Washington and Beijing on Tuesday, an aide said, as he seeks to restore his country’s credibility as a partner in global efforts to stem warming.

An EU official said Lula would meet the bloc’s climate policy chief Frans Timmermans on Wednesday.

Lula, who also served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, defeated the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in last month’s election. Bolsonaro oversaw mounting destruction of the Amazon rainforest and refused to host the 2019 climate summit originally planned for Brazil.

The president-elect, who will be sworn in on January 1, arrived in Sharm El Sheikh early on Tuesday, ahead of his planned appearance at the talks on Wednesday. According to two of his advisers, Lula is set to tell Cop delegates that “Brazil is back”.

He has promised a sweeping plan to increase environmental law enforcement and create green jobs. His team also worked to secure a jungle conservation alliance announced on Monday between the three largest rainforest nations – Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia.

A spokesperson for the president-elect said he was set to have separate meetings on Tuesday with US climate envoy John Kerry and China’s chief climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua. He will also speak by phone to President Abdul Fatah Khalil Al Sisi of Egypt.

Lula has received more than 10 invitations for bilateral meetings with representatives of other nations, said his environmental adviser Izabella Teixeira. The officials were not being named for security reasons, she added.

Climate clout and hope

Three Brazilian diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the country was in a stronger position to negotiate at this year’s climate summit because of Lula’s election.

They said other countries know Brazil will soon have a Lula government that has promised to take the issue more seriously than Bolsonaro, a climate change denier.

The negotiating position itself is largely unchanged. Brazil under Lula is expected to continue pushing for rich nations with high greenhouse gas emissions to pay poor nations for historic damage to the climate, the diplomats said.

Colombia’s environment minister, Susana Muhamad, said Lula’s return to power would allow the renewal of regional co-operation among Amazon rainforest nations to tackle deforestation, a major contributor to climate change.

“There is a new political context in Latin America,” Muhamad said. “We have to work on a communal policy in the Amazon.”

She said Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro, also elected this year, would support Lula’s proposal for a summit of Amazon countries and developed nations interested in conservation.

Teixeira said she felt the mood surrounding Brazil has shifted at Cop27. “There is hope,” she said. “People are so happy because Brazil will be back.”

Last week, sources suggested that Lula plans to offer to host a future UN climate summit and to announce the creation of a national climate authority. He also plans to work with state governments in Brazil to combat deforestation.

His first meeting on Wednesday will be with six Brazilian governors from the Amazon region, who are also at Cop27, his public schedule shows.

On Thursday, Lula will meet Brazilian civil society groups and indigenous representatives, as well as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Teixeira said. He departs on Friday for Portugal.

Marina Silva, a former environment minister under Lula and an adviser on his campaign, said his trip to the summit showed the high importance he places on climate.

“The big message is his presence here,” she told reporters.