Lula's "Drill Baby, Drill" policy at Amazon Summit faces pushback from Colombia's Petro
The two leaders' energy policies are at odds: so are their visions about saving the Amazon
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An Amazon Summit in Belém, Brazil, started on Tuesday, attended by the eight countries which share territory in the Amazon rainforest. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva organized the summit in hopes of achieving a formal international accord to reduce deforestation in the Amazon basin.
Lula won presidential elections partly on promises to reduce deforestation in the Amazon, a phenomenon which increased exponentially under former president Jair Bolsonaro. Deforestation fell by more than 60% in July 2023 compared to the same period last year, and Lula has promised zero deforestation by 2030.
But even before the end of the first day of the Summit, Lula ran into loggerheads over how to implement conservation efforts, from both regional allies as well as from his own energy policy.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro, on the first day of the Summit, publicly called for an end to oil exploration, calling continued hydrocarbon production on the Amazon jungle “betting on death rather than life”.
Lula’s “Drill Baby, Drill” platform
His statements are a direct challenge to Lula’s energy policy and economic plans, which depend heavily on oil revenue. Brazil is the biggest oil-producer in South America, and the 9th largest in the world, producing more than three million barrels a day— and currently has plans to auction off more than 150 oil exploration blocks within the Amazon rainforest itself.