Speaking during the announcement of a public works project in Rio de Janeiro yesterday, the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva accused rich countries of being responsible for global warming
‘The wealthy countries are very smart, approving protocols, holding big speeches on the need to avoid deforestation but they already deforested everything,’ he said. ‘We need a different campaign, not only to protect plants and animals … but also to get rich countries to reduce gas emissions.’
He urged such countries to switch to non-fossil fuels, such as ethanol or biodiesel. Brazil is the world’s largest producer of the former, which is made from sugar cane, and plans to invest 17.4 billion reais (US$8.3 billion) in renewable fuels over the next four years.
Growing demand for fuel ethanol has prompted investors to search for more land to plant sugar cane in Brazil’s traditional coffee growing state of Minas Gerais.
‘No country is revolutionizing its energy matrix as we are,’ said Lula said. ‘The so-called carbon credits they invented … so far, we haven’t seen a cent of that,” he added, referring to planned compensation for preserving carbon-absorbing forests.
Lula also told wealthy nations to stop telling Brazil how to manage the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest source of fresh water and biodiversity, claiming that his country has reduced deforestation there by 52 percent over the past three years.
‘There are few countries in the world that have the moral authority to talk about deforestation with Brazil,’ he concluded.