China and Brazil look to set up green investment fund, say Lula aides

Brazil's Environment Minister Marina Silva attends an interview with Reuters in Brasilia
Brazil's Environment Minister Marina Silva attends an interview with Reuters in Brasilia, Brazil March 24, 2023. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA, March 24 (Reuters) - Brazil and China are in talks to create a fund for financing the development of green industry and renewable energy in both countries, two senior Brazilian officials told Reuters.

The proposal could be announced during President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's visit to Beijing next week, although government officials said there were still some details to work out.

"I don't know if it will be possible to announce, because these things are complex, but the idea is to have a bilateral fund ... for investment in this area," Lula's top foreign policy advisor Celso Amorim told Reuters.

Amorim said he expects an agreement on renewable energy during Lula's visit, which includes a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday.

Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva, who will be part of Lula's delegation, said the new fund under discussion would be used to recover forests and develop a more sustainable economy, including production of green hydrogen.

"Our expectation is that we can have a climate change agenda that is strategic for the world because it is undoubtedly one of humanity's greatest challenges today," Silva told Reuters.

Brazil already received a commitment from the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden on climate policy and forest protection when Lula visited the White House last month, she said.

In the case of China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, Silva expects there to be "an increasingly strong agenda on the issue of climate, the protection of forests, and biodiversity."

Silva said, however, that China will not join the billion-dollar Amazon Fund started by Norway to finance sustainable development and protect the world's largest tropical rainforest, which Spain, France and Britain are looking at joining and the U.S. has committed to supporting.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Anthony Boadle Additional reporting by Jake Spring Editing by Brad Haynes and Rosalba O'Brien

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Anthony has covered Brazilian politics since 2012, the narrow 2022 election of leftist President Lula following four years of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, and the turbulence faced by Brazilian democracy. He has reported from Chile under General Pinochet and from Havana under Fidel Castro. He has also covered U.S.-Latin American affairs from Washington 1995-2002. Anthony holds an M.A. in Politics from Essex University. Contact: 55 61 98204-1110