October 17, 2014
Anna Edgerton – Bloomberg, 10/16/2014
Brazil is running a “very big risk” by not doing more to conserve power use during a drought, according to Jose Jorge, Brazil’s energy minister in 2001, the last time the country had to ration electricity.
The opposition-aligned official and member of Brazil’s audit court said in an interview yesterday government measures to contain power prices have also restricted investment in the industry, exacerbating the effect of the drought.
Reservoirs in Brazil’s southeast, home to most of the country’s hydro-power plants, are at 22.4 percent capacity with high temperatures and low rainfall so far in October. The last time Brazil had to ration energy, when Jorge was minister, reservoirs were 21.3 percent full in October. With low dam levels restricting hydroelectric generation, distributors have had to rely on more expensive thermal plants.
October 15, 2014
Samantha Pearson – The Financial Times, 10/13/2014
Petrobras’s fuel pricing policy threatens to put the brakes on Brazil’s airline industry, the world’s third-biggest domestic market and a key propeller of the country’s growth, industry associations have warned. Brazil now has the second most expensive airline fuel in the world after Malawi in Africa, making it impossible for airlines to reduce ticket prices further as the economy slows, said Eduardo Sanovicz, head of the Brazilian Airlines Association ABEAR.
“This is a fundamental barrier if Brazilian aviation is to increase its number of passengers from the current 111m,” said Mr Sanovicz, adding that fuel represents 40 per cent of Brazilian airlines’ operating costs compared with a global average of just over 30 per cent.
While taxes and currency fluctuations are partly to blame, jet fuel is so expensive in Brazil largely because the state-controlled oil company Petrobras still charged a heavy “import fee” even though more than 75 per cent of the fuel nowadays was refined in Brazil, Mr Sanovicz added.
October 1, 2014
Paulo Prada – Reuters, 10/1/2014
In March 2003, three months into her tenure as Brazil’s environment minister, Marina Silva gathered a half-dozen aides at the modernist ministry building in Brasilia, the capital.
She told them the new government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was about to embark on a pharaonic infrastructure project for Brazil’s arid Northeast.
The project, a still-ongoing effort to reroute water from one of Brazil’s biggest rivers, had previously been opposed by environmentalists, including Silva herself. Rather than explain how she would thwart the plan, however, the former activist said she would work to make it as sustainable as possible.
September 23, 2014
Hannah Osborne – International Business Times, 09/23/2014
Brazil has refused to endorse a global anti-deforestation initiative put forward at the UN climate summit because it says it was left out of the consultation process.
According to an exclusive report by the Associated Press, environment minister Izabella Teixeira said her country was “not invited to be engaged in the preparation process” of the plan.
“Unfortunately, we were not consulted. But I think that it’s impossible to think that you can have a global forest initiative without Brazil on board. It doesn’t make sense,” she said. However, a UN official denied her claims, saying “there were efforts to reach out to the Brazilian government”. Charles McNeill, a senior environmental policy adviser with the UN, said: “There wasn’t a response [from Brazil].”
September 22, 2014
Natuza Nery and Marina Dias – Folha de S. Paulo, 9/22/2014
Folha de S. Paulo interviews biologist João Paulo Capobianco, who has worked closely with Marina Silva, about her intentions for the upcoming presidential race.
Folha – The economist Eduardo Giannetti, ally of Marina, said that she prefers to grow at 3% with economic sustainability at 7%. Is this true?
Capobianco – Marina would not make a trade-off like that. Brazil has an enormous challenge of having social inclusion that cannot forego growth. The issue is to separate growth from the mentality of pushing for growth at any price, as is the vision of the current government. In this mindset, it does not matter if I create a million conflicts because I have the idea that creating the Belo Monte dam is the best thing for the country.
Is she against Belo Monte?
No. That is another myth, the idea that Marina is against hydroelectric power. The issue is how to make a project sustainable from an economic, social, and environmental standpoint.
But growth with sustainability is costly.
How is it costly? I think that the contrary is true. What is costly is not doing it.
Read more [in Portuguese]…
September 18, 2014
Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 09/17/2014
The brutalist headquarters of South America’s biggest company, Petrobras, offers a harsh riposte to those who try to romanticise Brazil as a land of golden beaches and endless forest. This week, the concrete edifice in central Rio de Janeiro was the focus of a pro-oil rally by thousands of petrochemical workers amid a presidential election debate dominated by how to manage the nation’s vast fossil fuel reserves.
It is a question that has opened up the biggest gap between President Dilma Rousseff, an old industry champion of the Workers Party, and her main challenger Marina Silva, a former environment minister who has pledged to shift priorities towards alternatives energies like wind, solar and ethanol.
This is more than just a Brazilian rerun of George Bush and Big Oil versus Al Gore and climate concern, because state-run Petrobras is no ordinary company and – with the company also mired in a massive corruption scandal – this is no ordinary time.
September 17, 2014
EFE – Fox News Latino, 09/16/2014
Brazil’s Munduruku Indians charged Tuesday that the government deceived them and defied a requirement to consult with the tribe before approving the construction of a new hydroelectric dam in the Amazon jungle.
A statement distributed by the Missionary Indian Council, a group linked to the Catholic Church, said the indigenous people “are outraged” after the government of President Dilma Rousseff set Dec. 15 as the date to receive bids to build the São Luiz do Tapajos power plant in the northern state of Para.
Government officials met with Munduruku representatives two weeks ago to discuss the Indians’ rights to be consulted about developments in their lands, as mandated by Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization.