Brazil’s dramatic first round of elections went better than the incumbent president had feared. Jair Bolsonaro got enough votes for a second round.
But tonight’s winner was challenger Lula da Silva, better known as Lula.
If the veteran from the left wins the second round on October 30, it would also be a victory for the Amazon, according to the Rainforest Foundation.
It gives us hope and gives hope to our allies in Brazil, Anders Haug Larsen of the Rain Forest Fund tells NRK.
A lot of rainforests can be saved
support him Carbon Brief Analysis. It shows Lula’s victory could reduce deforestation by 89 percent by 2030. This would save 75,960 square kilometers of the Amazon, an area the size of Troms and Finnmark counties.
The analysis was conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
If Lula becomes Brazil’s next president, he could also drastically reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, if a halt to illegal deforestation is also combined with planting new forests. A large proportion of Brazil’s emissions come from deforestation for meat production.
One of Brazil’s leading climate commentators believes Lula’s loss could have dire consequences for the environment.
A tragedy for the environment
– Bolsonaro’s re-election would be a complete tragedy for the environment, says Marcio Astrini, head of NRK’s Climate Observatory in Brazil.
– He wants to continue this destruction and this sabotage of the devices that are supposed to protect the forest and allow free play to the criminals, such as loggers, gold diggers and people who burn forests for farming. Astrini says this is what has been going on now for more than three years and will continue if Bolsonaro wins.
The Amazon rainforest is one of the richest ecosystems in the world, teeming with flora and fauna. Hugh Larsen says that preserving the forest is also important to stem the climate crisis.
There are no models that suggest that we will be able to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, as the world agreed to in the Paris Agreement, without also caring for the rainforests.
Under Bolsonaro’s leadership, deforestation has increased by as much as 75 percent, according to Regenskogovodet. Among other things, his government has weakened the IBAMA Environmental Directorate and other agencies that are supposed to prevent illegal deforestation.
In the Carbon Brief analysis, the researchers assume that Lula is making good on his election promises to crack down on this, and that Bolsonaro is continuing his policy as before.
Lula was president from 2003 to 2011. His government managed to reduce deforestation by 70 percent. Haug Larsen thinks this is possible again. He believes that a lot is about re-implementing the procedures, mandates and funding that have been cancelled.
– It’s totally possible. But part of the previous success came from the fact that it was done in cooperation with the international community. Among others, to a large extent, Norway, which helped fund the various reforms that had an impact. He says it will be important now too.
increased before the elections
Recently, illegal deforestation in the Amazon has accelerated even further, according to the report The experts CNN spoke to.
The people behind it fear it will be the last chance to deal with it, before a potential new president cracks down on illegal activity, CNN writes.
Bolsonaro could still remain in office. The first round of the election was more even than reported in many opinion polls. Many thought Lula would get enough votes on Sunday to decide everything at that time. But now Brazil and the world must, instead, wait until the second round of elections in less than a month.
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