Brazil’s first-ever minister for indigenous peoples, Sônia Guajajara, stated that the country is working to restore its climate credibility and prevent the Amazon rainforest from reaching a tipping point. Since President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office, deforestation rates in the Amazon have decreased to their lowest levels in six years. Lula has pledged to achieve zero deforestation in the Amazon by 2030 and is seeking to repair Brazil’s environmental reputation. However, the government has faced criticism for its plans to open new oil fields near the Amazon River.
Guajajara emphasized the need to rebuild infrastructure and institutions that protect the rights of indigenous peoples and the environment, which were weakened under the previous administration. She praised Lula’s commitment to reducing deforestation and poverty and his efforts to protect the Amazon. Brazil plans to showcase its achievements at the upcoming COP28 climate conference.
While Lula’s administration has made progress in curbing deforestation, it faces criticism for its investment in the oil and gas sector. Brazil’s energy ministry announced plans to invest billions of dollars into the sector, including oil exploration near the mouth of the Amazon River. Environmental activists argue that this contradicts the country’s climate goals and compromises efforts to protect the rainforest.
Indigenous leader and activist Txai Surui expressed concern about the pursuit of offshore oil and called for Brazil to follow Colombia’s example in rejecting new oil and gas projects. Surui believes that Brazil needs to prioritize the preservation of the Amazon and criticized any agreements that allow for oil exploration.
The article highlights the urgency of the situation, with extreme temperatures and rising stress levels in the region. The Amazon rainforest may reach its tipping point sooner than anticipated, leading to irreversible ecosystem collapse. Guajajara described the situation as an emergency and called for collective action from individuals, companies, and governments to prevent reaching this point of no return.