31 Jan 2023, 13:17
Benjamin Wehrmann

Scholz eyes energy deals, Amazon protection during trip to Brazil

Clean Energy Wire

At his first meeting with the newly elected Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, German chancellor Olaf Scholz has focused on joint efforts to protect the Amazon rainforest as a global shield against climate change and on intensifying energy trading between the EU and Brazil. Scholz hailed Brazil’s “return to the world stage” under president Lula, who succeeded right-wing hardliner Jair Bolsonaro last year and had vowed to restore his country’s climate action efforts, which Bolsonaro had largely scrapped. The German chancellor said he had come to Brazil during a tour of three countries, including Argentina and Chile, “to open a new chapter in our relationship”; that includes climate action, renewable power expansion, green hydrogen production and progress on the EU-Mercosur trade agreement.

“The future of energy supplies will be a key topic of our collaboration,” Scholz said, arguing that South America’s biggest country has enormous importance “for a green transformation of the global economy.” Brazil’s resources would be needed to enable the transformation and German companies stand ready to cooperate, the chancellor said. He and president Lula agreed on the need to establish a firm footing for trade through the EU-Mercosur deal, which could become an asset for climate action and social standards. Scholz also reiterated his calls for an international “climate club” of countries that agree on stronger decarbonisation measures without creating barriers for free trade, and stressed the Amazon rainforest’s key role for the success of climate action.

German development minister Svenja Schulze, who accompanied the chancellor to Brazil’s capital Brasilia, announced a 200 million-euro support programme for reforestation and forest protection. Schulze said the world’s largest rainforest would act as the globe’s “green lungs” and make Brazil a cornerstone of climate efforts. Forest destruction and fires reached a new record under former president Bolsonaro, who actively encouraged farmers to clear the rainforest and expand agricultural land in the area. Part of the funds had already been earmarked in 2017 but were held back during Bolsonaro’s term.

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