BRASILIA, Brazil, November 16, 2009 (ENS) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva confirmed today that he will go to Copenhagen in December for the UN climate conference. He will attend the High-Level segment on the last two days of the meeting, December 16 and 17.
Lula made the announcement on his weekly radio program Breakfast with the President, saying that he hopes for progress in Copenhagen.
President Lula announces his attendance at the UN climate conference. (Photo courtesy Office of President Lula)
He called on the United States and China, who have not made quantitative, legally-binding commitments ahead of the Copenhagen conference, to take “more responsibility” to avert the worst impacts of climate change. President Barack Obama is in China this week and will meet with President Hu Jintao on Tuesday.
Lula explained that the vague positions that China and the United States have put forth to date have motivated him to travel to Copenhagen.
“At this point, only leaders’ presence can change something,” Lula said. “There is no room for pessimism. We believe that, once leaders gather around one table, what seems impossible can happen.”
President Lula and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in Paris on Saturday that they have adopted a common position for the Copenhagen climate change summit that suggests, among other measures, the creation of a World Environmental Organization.
Both leaders will attend the Copenhagen talks carrying a document that is “our climate Bible,” the Brazilian president told reporters after his meeting with Sarkozy in the Elysee Palace.
Lula and Sarkozy said that they will work against the clock to convince as many governments as possible to share their position with a view to making the world summit on climate change a success.
President Lula and President Sarkozy announce their climate agreement. November 14, 2009. (Photo courtesy Office of President Sarkozy)
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown was the first world leader to pledge his attendance in Copenhagen. In September, Brown said he would go and urged his fellow world leaders to agree to go personally in an attempt to break what could become a dangerous deadlock.
U.S. President Barack Obama has said that he will attend the Copenhagen meeting only if he can be effective in achieving an agreement. On November 9, Obama said, “If I am confident that all of the countries involved are bargaining in good faith and we are on the brink of a meaningful agreement and my presence in Copenhagen will make a difference in tipping us over the edge then certainly that’s something that I will do.”
President Lula reminded listeners to his radio program that last week his government committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 36 percent and as much as 38.9 percent from current levels by 2020.
“Brazil took the initiative in setting targets to pressure those who spend all their time trying to teach Brazil lessons,” President Lula said. “If Brazil did its part, they will have to do theirs too. If it’s not today, it will be tomorrow, or next year. But they will have no way to avoid it: everyone will have to show figures.”
Brazil intends to attain half of its emissions cut by an 80 percent reduction in deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, the President said, but Brazil will also reduce its use of fossil fuels.
“We cannot continue using diesel fuel to generate electricity,” Lula said. “We have to use hydroelectric plants that pollute less. It is a renewable energy and this will be an extraordinary contribution that Brazil will be giving for the world.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged countries to seize the opportunity presented by next month’s climate change conference to clinch a political agreement that will help chart the way forward on a new legally binding pact to combat global warming.
“Opportunity is knocking. It is up to you to open the door,” Ban told a two-day meeting that began today in the Danish capital, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference.
Last week Ban strongly encouraged all heads of state and government to accept the invitation issued by Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen to attend the two closing days of the conference.