August 25, 2014
Maria Gallucci – International Business Times, 8/21/2014
Brazil’s power sector has doubled its global warming emissions in the past two years, a new analysis found. The uptick threatens to offset some of the country’s gains in slowing deforestation – an effort that climate groups say has led to dramatic cuts in carbon dioxide pollution. That could diminish the government’s negotiating power ahead of global climate talks in Paris next year, analysts say.
From January to July 2014, the cumulative monthly average of emissions grew by 182 percent for every one megawatt-hour of electricity produced, compared with the same period in 2012, according to data from Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, São Paulo-based newspaper Valor Economico reported on Thursday (link in Portuguese).
Overall, the energy sector accounts for about 30 percent of Brazil’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
August 25, 2014
The Economist (print edition), 8/23/2014
In 1998 Fernando Henrique Cardoso, then Brazil’s president, said he would triple the area of the Amazonian forest set aside for posterity. At the time the ambition seemed vain: Brazil was losing 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 square miles) of forest a year. Over the next 15 years loggers, ranchers, environmentalists and indigenous tribes battled it out—often bloodily—in the world’s largest tropical forest. Yet all the while presidents were patiently patching together a jigsaw of national parks and other protected patches of forest to create the Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA), a protected area 20 times the size of Belgium. Now, less than 6,000 sq km of Brazil’s Amazonian forest is cleared each year. In May the government and a group of donors agreed to finance ARPA for 25 years. It is the largest tropical-forest conservation project in history.
This matters because of Brazil’s size: with 5m sq km of jungle, it has almost as much as the next three countries (Congo, China and Australia) put together. But it also matters for what it may signal: that the world could be near a turning point in the sorry story of tropical deforestation.
Typically, countries start in poverty with their land covered in trees. As they clear it for farms or fuel, they get richer—until alarm bells ring and they attempt to recover their losses. This happens at different stages in different places, but the trajectory is similar in most: a reverse J, steeply down, then bottoming out, then up—but only part of the way. This is usually called the “forest transition curve”. Brazil seems to be nearing the bottom. The world may be, too.
August 20, 2014
Odisha Sun Times, 8/20/2014
Scientists from four Brazilian institutions have announced the discovery of a new species of non-venomous snake that inhabits the savannas in the central part of the country.
The new serpent has been dubbed Atractus Spinalis and belongs to the Dipsadidae family, found in several countries of the Americas and some Caribbean islands.
The snake was found and identified by scientists of the federal universities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, who carried out their studies in collaboration with researchers from the Brazilian National Centre for Research and Conservation of Reptiles and Amphibians, and with the support of the Boticario Group Foundation for Nature Protection.
August 19, 2014
Fabiola Ortiz – Truth Out, 8/18/2014
Davi Kopenawa, the leader of the Yanomami people in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, who is internationally renowned for his struggle against encroachment on indigenous land by landowners and illegal miners, is now fighting a new battle – this time against death threats received by him and his family.
“In May, they [miners] told me that he wouldn’t make it to the end of the year alive,” Armindo Góes, 39, one of Kopenawa’s fellow indigenous activists in the fight for the rights of the Yanomami people, told IPS.
Kopenawa, 60, is Brazil’s most highly respected indigenous leader. The Yanomami shaman and spokesman is known around the world as the “Dalai Lama of the Rainforest” and has frequently participated in United Nations meetings and other international events.
August 18, 2014
Samantha Pearson – Financial Times, 8/18/2014
Marina Silva has made a habit of escaping death. Growing up in a poor family of rubber tappers in the Amazon jungle, she survived bouts of malaria and hepatitis. Polluted water also left her with metal poisoning. As a campaigner against deforestation she later faced death threats from ranchers, who in 1988 murdered Chico Mendes, her close friend and Brazil’s celebrated environmentalist.
On Wednesday last week she cheated death again. She was meant to be on the private jet that crashed near São Paulo in bad weather, killing Eduardo Campos, the presidential candidate, but she changed her plans at the last minute.
The harrowing experiences have turned the 56-year-old into a frail, slightly hunched woman, often seen with dark circles under her eyes. But her battles with death as well as poverty and illiteracy have also strengthened her iron-like resolve, transforming her into a likely leader of the world’s second-largest emerging market.
August 18, 2014
News 24, 8/18/2014
Brazil has made good progress in safeguarding the Amazon rainforest but Indonesia’s plans for its forests could face setbacks under a new government, a report commissioned by top forest aid donor Norway said on Monday.
Norway, rich from offshore oil and gas, paid $1.7bn to slow tropical deforestation from 2008-13, according to the report by the state-funded Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (Norad).
“Brazil’s deforestation rate and corresponding greenhouse gas emissions have strongly decreased”, the report said of progress in protecting the Amazon, the biggest tropical forest.