September 24, 2023

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With Lula as "Joker", the new Latin American left seeks a greener future

With Lula as “Joker”, the new Latin American left seeks a greener future

Former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva

Photo: Photo: Ricardo Stackert

Favorite to win headed ColombiaGustavo Petro, if he wins the elections due at the end of this month, wants to stop all new oil drilling and lead the country towards a greener future.

This position is in line with the position of the new president who was sworn in. ChileGabriel Borek, millennials who have also pledged to take a firm stand in the fight against climate change.

At a time when Latin America is experiencing the re-emergence of a shift to the left, which by the end of the year is expected to rule most of the continent, the “greener” tone of the new leaders contrasts with the “resource nationalism” of the old guard, which often sees strict control over energy and minerals It is the best path to economic progress and self-determination.

previous president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva It could be a joker. Lula, a leader in opinion polls for Brazil’s October elections, has long been associated with oil development, but at the same time he also seeks contrasts with President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic.

Lula often evokes the boom that marked his government between 2003 and 2011, when a commodity cycle fueled by increased Chinese demand for steel, soybeans and other products helped fill government coffers.

He also held office when Petrobras discovered pre-salt, a reserve of about 50 billion barrels of oil that was seen as a game-changing agent in the fight against poverty.

In recent interviews, BT has dismissed suggestions that it will follow the Petro tone and avoid potentially profitable oil projects.

However, Senator Humberto Costa (PT-PE), a close Lula ally, believes that the energy transition must accelerate in Brazil if the left returns to power. An increase in generation from sources such as solar, wind and biomass is expected.

“I think again, there’s this issue of environment and energy. I think that’s going to play an important role,” Costa said. “Our environment and energy policies were good (in Lula’s previous government)…but today this issue is more urgent and broader.”

The senator also stated that Lula would seek “self-sustaining development” in the Amazon, unlike Bolsonaro.

No planet, no life

Later this month, Colombian voters will head to the polls in the first round of the local presidential election, in which Petro, 62, aims to steer the left to its first victory in decades.

The former guerrilla, who later became a Member of Parliament and Mayor of Bogotá, chose environmental activist and progressive rising star Francia Márquez as his deputy.

Márquez, who could become the first Afro-Colombian vice president, stressed in an interview that she and Pietro separate from the country’s conservatives, who have long embraced oil and coal, but also with fellow leftists such as the Mexican president. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an unconditional supporter of fossil fuels.

“The point is that both the left and the right are promoting extractive politics at a time when humanity faces the challenge of moving from this extractive economy to a sustainable one,” said Marquez, 40, a vociferous feminist. Reuters. “Life is not possible without our planet.”

Petro promised to stop new oil and gas exploration, protect water resources and provide more security for environmentalists in Colombia – the most dangerous country in the world for these activists.

Meanwhile, last Friday in Chile, Environment Minister Borek told Reuters a new law should commit the country to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

For traditional left-wing leaders in Latin America, the control and use of resources is tied to a legacy of exploitation dating back to the colonial era – and many of their policies focus on keeping private foreign capital away from its natural wealth.

In Mexico, Lopez Obrador last month secured congressional support to nationalize the exploitation of lithium, a metal important to the battery industry that the country has yet to produce.

Since then, the Mexican leader has said he wants to join Chile, Argentina and Bolivia in advancing development with similar ideas.

He has also sought to consolidate the dominance of state oil company Pemex and national electric company CFE in their respective sectors by eliminating oil and renewable energy auctions and prioritizing sending power from CFE plants, even though they run mostly on fossil fuels.

In Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in the region, Socialist President Luis Ars has shown himself open to negotiations with investors in the natural gas sector.

The government also expects to announce partnerships with foreign companies later this month to begin exploring the world’s largest lithium reserves, at a time of rising demand.

In the final phase of the campaign in Colombia, Marquez is careful to avoid unrealistic expectations of Petro’s “green” agenda.

“Will this change happen overnight? No, it won’t happen in four years. But we need the political will to say, ‘Yes, we should start the transition.'”

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