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Transcript of Luiz Ignácio Lula da Silva on climate change


Channel 4 News at Noon

Monday 30 November 2009  12.07

Climate change – Luiz Ignácio Lula da Silva


Samira Ahmed, presenter: Now, the Brazilian president has called upon every person to have the courage to make the changes necessary to stop climate change, warning that everybody on the planet will be a victim of global warming if action isn't taken. The interview is part of Channel 4 News' special series from Brazil ahead of next week's climate change conference in Copenhagen. It comes as the summit’s hosts, Denmark, put forward a draft proposal to halve gas emissions by 2050.


Jon Snow is in São Paulo and earlier he spoke to the Brazilian president, Lula da Silva, from the heart of the Amazon Basin.


Jon Snow, reporter: I'm standing in São Paulo, a city with a population of 20 million, expected to grow to 35 million in the next few decades. This is the engine room, the driver of the emerging economy that is Brazil; a country in growth and yet suffering from the consequences of climate change, not least in the losses in the Amazon jungle. And what Brazilians want to see out of the climate change conference in Copenhagen a week from today is agreement from world leaders that will protect that growth and yet battle climate change. When I sat down with Brazil's charismatic President Lula, he's convinced this is a moment of truth and that the world leaders must seize it.


Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazilian President [speaking through an interpreter]: In Brazil we see climate changes, and you can see it very easily. For example, states like the Rio Grande do Sul down south, the Santa Catarina, the southern region that for three years have been suffering drastic changes in their climate. And we have seen in other places in Brazil there was no floods, strong floods in the Amazon River for… except for four months ago. I received the governor of the Amazon state in Brasilia to show me the largest flood in the history of the Amazon River; it flooded everything everywhere here. Four months after that flood there's a drought now here. So these are phenomena that are almost unexplainable from the scientific viewpoint. What is of my concern is that it was not taken seriously, the Kyoto protocol.


JS: When you go to Copenhagen is it just a north/south divide; you pushing from the south to get the north to do more?


LILDS: I believe that we should not have a simplistic discussion of the divide between north and south. Every time that you present itself to me a situation, a severe situation, instead of putting to put the blame on somebody or on someone, I want to look for someone that is willing to find a solution. It's useless to put the blame on the UK, because that's where the industrial revolution started, so the UK has… would have much more responsibility.


JS: And you want us to pay for that?


LILDS: I believe that all of us, we have to pay according to our responsibility. Now, no one will be able to pay a debt that has accumulated for 200 years, and so I prefer to have the good sense, the common sense, should start discussing what each country can do from now onwards, so that the set of countries can take responsibility for the preservation, for the conservation of the quality of life that we live on the planet Earth.


JS: If there is no legally binding agreement, will you be happy with a political agreement? Is it enough?


LILDS: No. But I also learned, at 64 years of age, that in politics, when you don't manage to do everything that you want, you stay happy for what is possible to get done.


JS: If you just talked to individual people – for example, in Britain or anywhere in Europe – do you really say to them 'look, you know, you must be prepared to sacrifice in your pocket perhaps 10%, 5% of what you earn?'


LILDS: From the poorest of the Brazilians… or to the richest of the Brazilians for the poorest of the… individual in the world to the richest individual in the world, we have to take responsibility. It's a rounded planet; if the atmosphere is polluted and one day it’s more polluted maybe in Brazil and another day will be more pollution in the US, so everybody will be the victim of global warming; everybody on the planet Earth. It will start in small islands and then it will move to beaches… on cities that have beaches; if the sea goes up, everybody will have to pay the price. So I believe that what the capacity of information that the human being has in the 21st century, I believe that we will have to have the courage to do what the rulers… our rulers did not do in the 20th century.


JS: Brazil's President Lula da Silva.