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Laurie Stone

COP27: Brazil is back!’ Lula aims to protect the Amazon

Nature took center stage at the U.N. climate conference as Brazil’s president-elect reengaged in climate talks, Paris accord leaders called for a Nature Agreement,” and nature-based solutions got a bump.

A man with white hair and beard wearing a dark blue suit speaks into a microphone
President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil speaks at the COP27 U.N. climate summit. (Christophe Gateau/Picture Alliance/Getty Images)
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SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Today, with only a few days left of COP27 negotiations, nature took center stage. Not only is it Biodiversity Day, but there have also been a couple of high-profile appearances by Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula,” who is raising hopes that the world might actually have a chance to save the Amazon rainforest. (Check out our previous dispatches from COP27.)

Is a Nature Agreement” in the works?

Last night, the architects of the 2015 Paris climate agreement — including Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the U.N. Framework on the Convention on Climate Change — urged world leaders to reach a similar deal for nature at the U.N. biodiversity conference that will take place in Montreal, Canada next month. They pointed out the intertwined nature of the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis, warning that keeping global warming below 1.5°C is impossible without protecting ecosystems. 

Leaders must secure a global agreement for biodiversity which is as ambitious, science-based, and comprehensive as the Paris agreement is for climate change,” they said in a statement.

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Lula da Silva makes waves

And speaking of biodiversity, Lula arrived at COP today to much fanfare with the hope that he will end deforestation in the Amazon. I’m here to tell all of you…that Brazil is back,” he said speaking to the crowds at the Amazon pavilion. He announced a new ministry of Indigenous people that would take very good care” of Amazonian communities. He also requested that one of the next COPs be held in the Amazon. I think it’s important that people who defend the Amazon know the region and the concrete reality,” he tweeted.

Nature-based solutions are the talk of the day

Biodiversity Day wouldn’t be complete without discussion of how nature-based solutions can help accelerate climate transformation. This is the exact aim of an initiative called Enhancing Nature-based Solutions for an Accelerated Climate Transformation (ENACT) that was launched today by the Egyptian COP27 presidency and the government of Germany, in cooperation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature. ENACT will serve as a hub for those working on nature-based solutions to share experiences and knowledge, support the implementation of activities on the ground, and inform policy alignment across climate and biodiversity negotiations.

🌳RMI has found that by 2050, the annual global net benefits of implementing nature-based solutions in cities could be $3.1 trillion per year. Read more in the Growing to Its Potential report. 

Tackling methane from waste

Methane emissions were also discussed throughout the day. RMI, Clean Air Task Force and Carbon Mapper announced the Waste Methane Assessment Platform, an open-source platform connecting satellite data with best practices to mitigate landfill methane. It will be accessible to national, state and municipal policymakers, operators and the finance industry around the world to help them make informed decisions on how to reduce methane emissions from waste. Methane accounts for 30% of global warming, and the waste sector accounts for almost 20% of global methane emissions. 

🌫️Want to go deeper on how organizations are stepping up the measuring of methane emissions? Check out Climate Trace.

Lack of progress on loss and damage still frustrating to many

Not to sound like a broken record, but loss-and-damage talks are still stalled. Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, is one of the latest to raise concerns about the lack of progress in negotiations over compensating developing countries for loss and damage suffered because of climate change. There does seem to be a bit of a block in loss and damage. There isn’t an agreement, it would appear, across the board, on a fund here and now,” she said, according to Reuters. With only a few days of talks remaining, and many wealthy nations proposing 2024 as a target for delivering a solution, developing countries are getting fed up.

Parting shot

A man wearing a Santa Claus jacket with the words "SustainaClaus" on the back talks to a female conference attendee
It’s only mid-November, but SustainaClaus is already making the rounds at COP27. (Laurie Stone)
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Laurie Stone is the managing editor for RMI. She has a master's degree in energy engineering and has been writing about renewable energy and the clean energy transition for more than three decades.