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Lula says Brazil will never be a full member of Opec+

REUTERS/Thaier Al Sudani
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva delivers a national statement at Cop28 in Dubai on December 1, 2023

Brazil will never join the Opec+ group of oil-producing nations as a full member and instead only seeks to participate as an observer, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Sunday.

Lula’s remarks to reporters at the UN Cop28 climate summit in Dubai clarified his statements a day earlier that Brazil would “participate” in Opec+.

“Brazil should join Opec+, it could be an observer,” Lula said on Sunday. “Brazil will never be a full member of Opec, because we don’t want to be. What we want is to influence.”

Environmentalists in Brazil and abroad have criticised Lula’s administration for pitching itself as a climate leader thanks to its success in reining in deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, while still moving ahead with plans to drill massive offshore oil finds.

Emissions from burning fossil fuels like oil and coal are considered the principle cause of climate change.

Lula said that it is important for Brazil to participate in Opec+ in order to advocate that countries rich from oil proceeds invest some of that money in helping poor developing countries in Africa and Latin America to invest in renewable energy such as solar and wind.

“I think that in participating this way, we will convince people that a part of the money made from oil should be invested for us to nullify oil, creating alternatives,” Lula said. “There is no contradiction.”

Brazil’s state-run petroleum company Petrobras will not give up exploring for oil because fossil fuels will continue to be a part of the global economy for some time to come, Lula said. Petrobras will continue to do what it needs to do to help Brazil grow, but will expand beyond just oil to all energy, Lula added.

On Saturday, the president said Brazil would use its influence in Opec+

Lula left the Cop28 summit on Sunday, travelling to Berlin for the first Brazil-German government talks in eight years.