Brazil’s President Lula Unveils Plan to Legalize Indigenous Lands by 2030

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Brazilian President Luiz Inᣩo Lula da Silva made major moves to reverse the environmental course set by his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, including unveiling a plan to halt illegal deforestation in the Amazon and to set aside huge amounts of the rainforest for government protection.

Brazil will once again become a global reference in sustainability, tackling climate change, and achieving targets for carbon emission reduction and zero deforestation, Lula said on Monday.

Called the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon (PPCDAm), the plan will coordinate policy across more than a dozen Brazilian ministries. It calls for ending illegal deforestation by 2030 and achieving net zero deforestation, meaning just as much forest is being replanted as is cut down.

It will use satellite images to track criminal activity as well as to regularize land titles, and will create a rural registry to monitor correct forest management. It also aims to help degraded forests recover and increase the growth of native vegetation to undo some of the damage done by deforestation, which is driven in large part by cattle ranching.

The Brazilian Federation of Banks (Febraban) also announced that it would begin tying future lines of credit to Brazilian meat producers, including meatpackers and slaughterhouses, to environmental monitoring requirements. By the end of 2025, Brazilian meat companies that purchase cattle from Brazilian Amazon supplies will have to create a traceability and monitoring system for connections to illegal deforestation and the use of land in protected areas.

Febraban President Isaac Sidney said on Tuesday that banks are at the center of [Brazils] supply chain and that the move will encourage actions to foster an increasingly sustainable economy.

The financial sector is aware of the need to advance in managing and mitigating social, environmental, and climate risks in business dealings with their clients, while also directing more resources towards financing the transition to the Green Economy, he said.

Lula also announced that an Amazon reserve would be increased by 4,400 acres, and that another 140 million acres of public lands without special protection would be allocated – an area roughly the size of France.

In late April, Lula announced the creation of six new indigenous reserves, banning mining and most farming operations there. The areas cover some 1.5 million acres of the Amazon. Environment Minister Marina Silva said on Monday the government would begin the process of study toward creating more conservation units.

In addition, Lula also announced that Brazil, the worlds fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, would commit to reducing carbon emissions by 37% by 2025 and 43% by 2030. The commitment is a substantial increase from the levels set by Bolsonaro, who retreated from prior commitments.

Roughly half of Brazils carbon emissions come from deforestation, which often uses a crude slash and burn method that pours carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. One recent estimate found that 800 million trees were felled in two years to make way for cattle ranching.

The 77-year-old left-wing president returned to office in January 2023 after defeating Bolsonaro in the presidential election. Lula was previously president from 2003 to 2010, part of the wave of left-wing governments that swept Latin America in what was called a Pink Tide. Since returning to office, Lula has set about reversing course on many of the right-wing Bolsonaros policies, including on the environment, and pushing new efforts to build economic and political systems not centered on Europe and North America.

The Amazon represents half of the planets remaining rainforest, and 60% of it sits inside Brazils borders. Scientists have said that preserving the dense forest is key to efforts to combat climate change and keep the planet from warming to a level that could be dangerous to humans.

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