Why Brazil’s election matters for the planet

The Amazon rainforest just won a powerful friend in Brazil — a step that may prevent hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

The narrow victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva over far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in Sunday’s presidential election was heralded by world leaders as a win for global climate action, writes POLITICO Europe’s Karl Mathiesen.

During his campaign, the left-wing candidate, widely known as Lula, pledged to curtail deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, a critical resource for regulating global carbon levels. He also promised to support other international efforts to curtail catastrophic climate change.

“Brazil is ready to resume its leading role in the fight against the climate crisis, protecting all our biomes, especially the Amazon forest,” Lula said during his acceptance speech.

The Amazon rainforest is huge, covering more than 2 million square miles, or more than half the area of the United States. The Earth’s largest rainforest, the Amazon contains a third of all known plant, animal and insect species. It is also home to 10 percent of global biomass, meaning the forest stores vast amounts of carbon dioxide that are released into the atmosphere when trees are cut down.

Lula’s victory over Bolsonaro — who oversaw record deforestation of the Amazon by ranchers and loggers, and has opposed global efforts to reduce planet-warming emissions — comes a week before world leaders are set to meet in Egypt for international climate talks.

Global leaders from countries such as Germany, Canada, Australia and Spain said they were looking forward to working with Lula and welcomed him as a major new ally in the fight for a more ambitious global climate agenda.

This will be Lula’s second go as Brazil’s president. He served from 2003 to 2010 before being sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption in 2018. The controversial conviction was overturned by Brazil’s supreme court in 2019, and Lula walked free after 580 days.

Speaking of COP 27: U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak isn’t the only one pulling out of the conference. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg said she’s also skipping out on the talks in Egypt because the international summits “are mainly used as an opportunity for leaders and people in power to get attention, using many different kinds of greenwashing,” she said.

It’s Monday — thank you for tuning in to POLITICO’s Power Switch. I’m your host, Arianna Skibell. Power Switch is brought to you by the journalists behind E&E News and POLITICO Energy. Send your tips, comments, questions to [email protected].

Today in POLITICO Energy’s podcast: Gavin Bade breaks down why lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are rattled by Chinese energy companies snapping up American natural gas exports.

3 governor’s races to watch
Maryland, Massachusetts and Maine have some of the nation’s most aggressive clean energy targets and could see a political shakeup following next week’s elections, write David Iaconangelo and Miranda Willson.

In recent years, all three states have set targets to phase out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, as well as interim commitments to expand renewable energy deployment by the end of the decade.

Past meets present
Climate change is putting pressure on one of science’s earliest fields of discovery: archaeology, writes Daniel Cusick.

While drought is re-exposing centuries-old artifacts as lakes and rivers become mudflats — from Mesopotamia to the Mississippi — scientists say climate change impacts are undermining their ability to protect and document important sites before they disappear.

EV tax credit backlash
Sweden is joining France and Germany in voicing concerns over the United States’ new electric vehicle tax credit for vehicles made in the U.S., writes Camille Gijs.

France and Germany have said the E.U. cannot remain idle in the face of the new American measures and should hit back if the incentives remain the same.

Extinction crisis: In Nevada, a tribe and a toad halt a renewable power plant.

Cities: A big federal grant is aiming to make Baltimore a laboratory for climate change adaptation and resilience.

A showcase of some of our best subscriber content.

The Biden administration finalized where the first offshore wind farms may be built in the Gulf of Mexico, after narrowing the potential footprint.

Key players on the Democratic Party’s left flank are poised to oppose Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, a business-friendly contender close with President Joe Biden, if she is nominated for Treasury secretary.

New England’s largest gas and electric provider asked the White House to take emergency steps to maintain gas supplies as winter approaches.

That’s it for today, folks! Thanks for reading.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.