President of Colombia said that the left creates “another type of denialism” by maintaining dependence on oil

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, said this Tuesday (8.Aug.2023) that it is necessary to seek alternative economic sources to oil, coal and gas that are more sustainable to contain climate change.

We are on the brink of extinction of life and it is in this decade that we must make decisions. It is we, the politicians, who must make these decisions […] It is time to change the economic system, and much“, declared during the opening of the Amazon Summit, held in Belém, Pará.

According to him, the great environmental consequences will not be faced in the next millennium, but in the coming decades and it is up to the current leaders of the countries of South America to take the first steps. Petro said that it is necessary to think about an economy “decarbonised”.

The Colombian president stated that it is easier” for the right not to worry about these climatic consequences, since it “deny science”. The left, in turn, shows concern, but does not know how to abandon oil and creates “another type of denialism”, postponing discussions on the matter.

However, he recalled that this will be a challenge for Latin American economies, since, according to the Colombian, the countries are supported by the exploitation of fossil resources.

“It is very difficult, especially for us Latin Americans, who live off gas, oil, coal, to ask what this debate would be like, because the planet needs to stop using these sources”he declared.

Petro defended that the positioning of the Amazon Summit is not limited to the field of theory. “We will put things in the statement, but we will make decisions too”these.

He also criticized the “Northern Politics” in reference to developed countries, such as the United States and European nations, of only giving money to Amazonian countries to preserve the biome. “This job costs a lot more”he stated.

In his speech, Petro also spoke about the revitalization of the Amazon. He said it was necessary to launch a proposal to reform the financial system instead of asking other countries for money. According to the Colombian, the measure would change countries’ debt for climate action on a global scale.

Petro also proposed the creation of a common scientific research center between the countries and an International Court of Amazonian Environmental Justice to judge environmental crimes against the biome. “I even propose a military and judicial treaty,” said the Colombian.

He also suggested a meeting between the defense ministers of the countries participating in the summit to elaborate this military agreement.


The meeting, led by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), is attended by leaders and authorities from countries that have the Amazon as part of their territory. In addition to Brazil, the biome is located in parts of Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Ecuador.

The 8 countries participating in the Summit are part of ACTO (Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization), a body created in 1978 that encourages sustainable development and social inclusion in the region. The 2023 meeting is the 4th between the parties to the treaty and the 1st since 2009.

The event started on Tuesday (Aug 8) and will run until Aug 4 (Aug 9). In a protocol speech, Lula stated that the meeting aims to promote sustainable development in the region, in addition to ensuring the place of the Amazonian countries on the international agenda.

Read more about the Amazon Summit:

This report was produced by journalism intern Izabel Tinin under the supervision of editor Lorenzo Santiago.


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