Brazil’s New President Could Spell Disaster for Amazon, Indigenous Rights, and Global Climate

Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’ presidential election on Sunday. His hard campaign rhetoric has earned him a comparison to U.S president Donald Trump, and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. Winning the election is seen as a development that has raised issues about the future of human rights and environmental action in the world’s sixth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, CNN reported.

Bolsonaro has made a homophobic, racist statement, and empower the wing groups who share his views with his rhetoric and negative discourse that stir controversy.  “The negative discourse he’s spreading is killing people, “Felipe Lago, 29-year-old -fashion producer told CNN.

In the same way, as Trump does, he is resilient about prioritizing his nation’s economy over environmental regulations, at a point he even threatens to withdraw Brazil from the Paris agreement, reported by the Huffington Post, though he has walked it back.

This is how Bolsonaro presidency might impact Brazil’s environment, and the world at large…

On Amazon

A great Amazon decreased in Deforestation of about 70% was recorded from 2005 to 2011, which is due to an increasingly popular movement to keep the rainforest, leading to an increase in governmental regulations. Just as the country enters a chaotic political period, from 2011 to 2017, the reduction in deforestation stopped, but there was no reverse.

The new presidential leadership could cause a change in that aspect. The Guardian reported that Bolsonaro has promised to join the country’s environment ministry with its agriculture ministry which is controlled by agribusiness interest and also to open Amazon to high development. Part of his plans is also to reconsider dams that were put to stop in Amazon because they posed much risk to the forest.

His reckless plans to industrialize the Amazon in a concert with Brazilian and international agribusiness and mining sectors will bring untold destruction to the planets largest rainforest and the communities who call it home, and spell disaster for the global climate,” as reported in a statement by Amazon Watch Program Director Christian Poirier, to CNN.

Indigenous rights

Bolsonaro’s plans to open more of Amazon region to development steps on the rights of the indigenous communities that call them home.

Not one centimeter of land will be demarcated for indigenous reserves,” as the president said in one of his campaign Reuters reported. Bolsonaro also made a pledge to open existing reserves to farming and mining.

This word craft could be disastrous. About 110 indigenous people were murdered in Brazil last year, all in the name of defending their land. And more could happen if fast changes are not made to improve the land and climate condition.

According to what Paulo Barreto of Amazon told Reuter, ”Brazil is a champion of killings in the countryside. This can be exasperated by these statements because people’s acts follow the signal”

Climate Change

Bolsonaro at the end of his campaign said that he would keep Brazil in the Paris agreement as long as the leadership of the Amazon, Atlantic Ocean, and the Andes is not hand over to the indigenous or international groups by the country.

But being in the Paris agreement is not really the issue, and might not matter if the Amazon deforestation is allowed to continue or increase. Planting more trees and allowing the existing trees in the ground to keep growing is essential to meeting the goal, from the new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Brazil was fully on the right track to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but Bolsonaro’s election made the plan to plant about 70 million trees in 2017 abortive. Brazil deforestation strength and effort put in makes it the world champion in reducing greenhouse gas emission. Among all countries, it has a world record of producing sustainable biofuels against gas emission.

The kind of policies Bolsonaro has talked about could cause disasterEnvironmental Defense Fund (EDF) senior director of tropical forest policy Steve Schwartzman, told Huffington Post. Brazil is known for reducing greenhouse gas emission. The change in the position in reducing greenhouse gas pollution is what Brazil and the world do not need.

The outline of global warming of 1.5 degree Celsius has been approved by the panel, and the report of Environmental Defense Fund was finalized in October 2018, in the context of strengthening the global response in the threat of climate change and efforts to eradicate poverty.

If Bolsonaro can retrace his steps from being like Donald Trump, his vision of impacting Brazil’s environment and the world at large may be possible with the way the people are ready for a change. But if the statements that spell and bring progress abortion continues, chances are that Brazil might increase deforestation and lose the ground of producing biofuel against gas emission.`

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About Arindom Ghosh

A professional writer, editor, blogger, copywriter, and a member of the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors, New York. He has been part of many reputed domestic and global online magazines and publications. An avid reader and a nature lover by heart, when he is not working, he is probably exploring the secrets of life.