AS/COA Online - Lula Raises Middle East Profile

Co-authored with Michal Toiba. As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares for his trip to South America next week, concerns grow about Tehran’s influence in the region. Ahmadinejad, who canceled a trip to Latin America back in May, visits Brazil, Venezuela, and Bolivia next week in efforts to strengthen political and economic relations. With an ally in Venezuela already, Ahmadinejad’s journey offers the chance for Tehran to deepen ties with South American powerhouse Brazil. However, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's hosting of Ahmadinejad could lead to blowback if Brazil fails to join other global powers in pressuring Iran to curb its nuclear goals.
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AS/COA Online - Brazil Sets Climate Change Bull's-Eye

Presidents Sarkozy (L) and Lula agreed on a proposal they dubbed a "climate bible." (Photo: Ricardo Stuckert/PR)

During a trip to France, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva set a standard for next month’s UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. During a press conference with his French counterpart Nikolas Sarkozy, the two leaders agreed on a plan that calls for reducing global carbon emissions to 50 percent of 1990 levels over the course of the next four decades. The proposal also suggests that, by 2050, industrialized nations should decrease emissions to 80 percent of 1990 rates. The presidents labeled the plan a “climate bible” and it came just after Brazil announced a sharp drop in deforestation rates. Still, when the Copenhagen summit rolls around, bold plans could give way to a scaled-back agreement.

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