At the COP28 World Climate Action Summit, the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, delivered a powerful message, urging the world to move beyond ‘deliberations' over the sluggish pace of decarbonisation.
He emphasised the need for immediate action, stating, "We must now work collectively to create a future powered by clean energy and accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable economy that’s less dependent on fossil fuels.
Lula acknowledged the growing global consensus on the potential of renewable energies, but stressed the importance of putting people at the centre of climate solutions.
He quoted the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, who once said, "The generation that destroys the environment is not the generation that pays the price." This powerful statement highlighted the urgency of acting now for the benefit of future generations.
By referencing Maathai's words, Lula underscored the intergenerational responsibility that should be shared by the entire world in addressing climate change. He urged world leaders to act decisively and ensure a liveable planet for all.
Lula remined the audience of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's warning: the world has only until the end of this decade to prevent global temperatures from exceeding a disastrous 1.5°C rise above pre-industrial levels. He emphasised this urgency by highlighting that 2023 is already the hottest year ever recorded.
"The consequences of our inaction are already upon us," Lula declared. "Humanity is reeling from increasingly extreme and frequent droughts, floods, and heatwaves. In the north of Brazil, the Amazon is facing one of the most devastating droughts in its history. And in the south, storms and cyclones are leaving unprecedented destruction and death in their wake."
President Lula emphasised the importance of global cooperation in tackling climate change, stating that no nation can solve the problem alone. He pledged Brazil's leadership in this endeavour, highlighting the country's significant progress in reducing Amazon deforestation - a 40% decrease since January 2023. President Lula declared their ambitious goal of achieving zero deforestation by 2030, supported by a comprehensive plan for green industrialisation, low-carbon agriculture, and the bioeconomy.
Addressing the issue of equity, President Lula stressed that the burden of climate change disproportionately impacts the poorest populations, despite their minimal role in contributing to emissions. He asserted, "Climate change cannot be tackled without tackling inequalities."
Connecting COP28 to the upcoming COP30, to be held in Belém, Brazil, in 2025, President Lula called for global unity in the face of climate challenges. He urged collaborative action, stating, "Let's work constructively, with all countries, to pave the way between this COP28 and COP30, which we will host in the heart of the Amazon."
President Lula concluded by highlighting the shared responsibility of humanity to create a sustainable future for all. He stated, "There are not two planets on Earth. We are a single species called Humanity. We all want to make the world capable of welcoming all its inhabitants with dignity - and not just a privileged minority."
Agenda in Dubai
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva embarked on a packed first day in Dubai, participating in high-level meetings. Following a welcome event for delegations and a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, President Lula joined discussions with world leaders including UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
Lula's agenda highlights his commitment to environmental protection. His day continues with a visit to the Brazil Pavilion at COP28 and an immersive experience titled "The Amazon: an immersive experience." Later, he attends the Zayed Sustainability Prize Ceremony, further solidifying Brazil's engagement in sustainability initiatives.
Lula's unwavering voice for the Amazon and his commitment to global collaboration set the stage for a productive and impactful COP28.