05 Dec 2023, 13:17
Benjamin Wehrmann

Brazil and Germany vow relaunch of cooperation in environment, energy transition, green industry fields

Clean Energy Wire

Brazil and Germany have agreed to intensify cooperation on a wide range of environmental and economic issues. The two countries vowed to work more closely on topics such as forest protection, critical raw mineral extraction, renewables, and green hydrogen production. Brazil’s president Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva, together with an entourage of ministers, visited chancellor Olaf Scholz and his government in Berlin for the first bilateral government consultations in eight years. Relations between the two countries had cooled under Lula’s predecessor, far-right and climate change-denialist Jair Bolsonaro, and both Lula and Scholz were eager to underline that climate action and decarbonisation will play a key role in their countries’ renewed relationship. “Under your leadership, dear Lula, protecting forests has regained a high priority in Brazil,” Scholz said at a press conference. “We all have to thank you for that,” he added. The chancellor said Germany was ready to help Brazil achieve its goal of “zero deforestation by 2030,” as well as in building climate-neutral industries, supporting socially just transformation projects, and in climate research. Moreover, Germany is keen to invest in Brazil’s economy, for example in the raw material sector, Scholz said.

The Brazilian president, whose country is chairing the G20 group of countries in 2024, said both governments aim to “intensify the robust cooperation in environmental matters,” including the Amazon fund to halt deforestation in the country’s vast tropical rainforest. Lula said the agreements are good news for the energy transition, “which we take very seriously in Brazil.” Germany is “Brazil’s partner with the longest tradition in technical and financial cooperation” and this tradition would continue in the green industry transformation.
Both leaders stressed that they are eager to help finalise the EU-Mercosur trade agreement, which has been planned for more than 23 years and would bring the two economic blocs in Europe and South America closer together. Progress is currently stalled due to opposition from countries including France and Argentina.

However, the meeting also made clear that views in Germany and Brazil on key issues in international politics differ, notably on Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Middle East. Lula said the current security architecture at the UN is no longer fit for purpose, particularly with respect to armed conflicts and environmental threats, which is why Germany and Brazil also jointly aimed for reforms in global governance institutions. This would not only serve to better prevent and pacify armed conflicts, but would also ensure implementation of international environmental agreements. “The Kyoto Protocol has not been implemented up to this day,” Lula said. The 1997 agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a possible new agreement at the UN climate conference COP28 in Dubai, could only become effective under a new UN architecture, the Brazilian president argued.

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