Brazil's Lula to attend COP27 climate change summit

Former Minister of Environment Marina Silva and former Brazil's President and current presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva embrace during a news conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil September 12, 2022. REUTERS/Carla Carniel/File Photo

SAO PAULO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will participate in this month's COP27 United Nations climate summit in Egypt, the head of his political party said on Tuesday.

Environmentalists cheered Lula's election win on Sunday after he campaigned on promises to protect the Amazon rainforest and restore Brazilian leadership on climate change.

He defeated President Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing nationalist who has overseen rising deforestation and appointed climate change skeptics as ministers.

Gleisi Hoffman, the head of Lula's Workers Party, on Tuesday confirmed he would attend COP27.

"He was invited by (Amapa state) Governor Waldez Goes, who is coordinating the consortium of Amazon governors, to accompany them," Hoffman said. "He will go, but we don't have the dates yet."

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also invited Lula to attend the summit in a message congratulating him on his election victory.

COP27 runs from Nov. 6 to 18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. World leaders generally attend the opening of the conference.

Two people with the Lula campaign, requesting anonymity as plans had not been confirmed, said he would likely attend during the second week of the conference.

Lula will "certainly" meet with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at COP27, among other meetings, his adviser and former Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira told Reuters.

"I have absolute certainty that...various national representatives will request to meet with President Lula," Teixeira said, adding that she was being directly consulted on the matter.

Attending COP27 as president-elect will send the world a strong message that climate is a priority for Brazil, she said.

"Lula is signaling to the developing world that Brazil is back," Teixeira said. "He has signaled that, in his government, Brazil will return to its important role in strengthening multilateralism."

Lula would not be part of Brazil's official government delegation, as he will only assume the presidency on Jan. 1. Bolsonaro is not expected to attend.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Additional reporting by Aidan Lewis; Writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Aurora Ellis

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Thomson Reuters

Global Climate & Environment Correspondent, based in Brazil. Interests include science, forests, geoengineering, cryosphere, climate policy/diplomacy, accountability and investigative reporting. His work on environmental destruction under Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro received awards from Covering Climate Now and the Society of Environmental Journalists. Previously based in China, he is fluent in Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese.