“We want an immediate program for the first hundred days of government, in agreement with the government what can be done and, for that, [teremos] another € 200 million (R$ 1.1 billion)”, he told Sheet the German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze.
The donation must come from Schulze’s ministry, which is also responsible for the Amazon Fund, but it must go beyond the mechanism aimed at conserving forests and mitigating climate change.
“We are also going to cooperate in other areas, to help resolve the social gap, because we are sure that climate protection does not work without solving social problems”, points out Schulze, citing that he follows the situation of the Yanomami people and that he seeks to deal with the ministers Sônia Guajajara (Indigenous Peoples) and Marina Silva (Environment) ways to cooperate in the case.
The minister received the report at the hotel where she stayed in São Paulo last Saturday (28), before traveling to Brasília to meet the two ministers. This Monday (30), she is meeting the agenda of meetings with the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz.
The objective is to hear from the Brazilian government about investment priorities and outline quick cooperation plans in the social, forestry and energy areas.
Schulze also mentions the need to quickly rehabilitate the resources stopped in the Amazon Fund, which has R$ 3.3 billion in cash, unused by the government of Jair Bolsonaro (PL).
The current government has signaled to international partners that the Amazon Fund is a priority in partnerships and should be used on an emergency basis for environmental inspection actions and combating deforestation in the Amazon.
The Fund’s second largest donor, Germany had already closed a new donation contract shortly after the presidential elections, in the amount of €35 million (about R$194 million).
“One thing that the government has already told us is that the Amazonian states need more support, not through the Amazon fund, so that they can do more concrete things in terms of protecting the forest”, says Schulze.
The proposal for climate cooperation beyond the Amazon Fund has resonance with what the Amazonian states claimed during the UN Climate COP27, which took place in November 2022, in Egypt.
One of the demands of the Legal Amazon Consortium to the Lula government was precisely the possibility of having more autonomy in receiving international resources for state climate policies.
In addition to forests, the minister also mentions the intention of the German government to act in agriculture and green hydrogen — areas where Brazil can be a power, she says.
“That’s why we are already interested in good relations, because that in the future could be very interesting for everyone, including us, when Brazil starts producing hydrogen on a large scale”, says Schulze. The export of green hydrogen —made from renewable energies— is a bet by Brazilian industry to replace fossil energy sources in European countries.
“We hope that Brazil will quickly be able to produce hydrogen for export, but also to satisfy its own needs, and perhaps produce a surplus that remains to be exported to countries like Germany”, he adds.
According to the minister, energy self-sufficiency would be positive so that Brazil does not need to import energy. “This is the painful experience that Germany is going through now, because it was completely dependent on Russian gas”, she compares. “For us, the number one priority is to be more resilient and not depend on Russia anymore, so we can’t be blackmailed,” she points out.
“It hurt a lot to have to restart the coal plants,” says Schulze, who led Germany’s environment ministry from 2018 to 2021. “I was a minister when the climate protection law was passed, so this step now was very costly. “, remember. “Nevertheless, we want to phase out the use of coal sooner, faster.”
This is the third visit by representatives of the German government since President Lula was elected last October. In December, Germany’s special climate envoy, Jennifer Morgan, held meetings in São Paulo and praised the new government’s statements on the country’s commitment to the climate targets defined in the Paris Agreement.
Lula’s inauguration, at the beginning of the month, was attended by the president of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Cooperation in climate and forest protection should also help the Germans to unlock another important area for the European country: the European Union’s trade agreement with Mercosur, barred in the European parliament due to concerns about the lack of control in the deforestation of the Amazon – which could be encouraged by the intensification of trade relations with Brazil, according to critics of the agreement.
“In terms of forest protection, we realized that there is a possibility of doing something with the new government”, says Schulze, citing having received a signal from the Brazilian government that Brazil wants to renegotiate some parts. “I’m very anxious to see what they think here. I can signal that there is great openness on our part”, says the minister.
The Planeta em Transe project is supported by the Open Society Foundations.
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