Brazil Says No to Anti-Deforestation Plans: The Difficulty of a Global Response to Climate Change

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].”

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Brazil’s Silva, a lifelong environmentalist, courts big agriculture

September 15, 2014

Reese Ewing – Reuters, 09/13/2014

Brazilian presidential candidate Marina Silva, an icon of the green movement, is cozying up to old adversaries in the sugar and ethanol industry as she seeks to win over the powerful farm lobby ahead of next month’s election.

Since entering the race in mid-August, Silva has picked a pro-agriculture congressman as her running mate, met repeatedly with agribusiness leaders and campaigned in the farm belt, eager to make allies in an industry that accounts for a quarter of Brazil’s economy.

Her message: conservation and big agriculture would thrive side-by-side in a Silva government and she would roll back the gasoline subsidies that President Dilma Rousseff has used to contain inflation. The fuel price controls have gutted Brazil’s once-booming sugar cane ethanol industry.

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Brazil building Amazon observation tower to monitor climate change impact

September 15, 2014

Agence France-Presse – The Guardian, 09/14/2014

Brazil is building a giant observation tower in the heart of the Amazon to monitor climate change and its impact on the region’s sensitive ecosystem, a newspaper has reported. The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory is a project of Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research and Germany’s Max Planck Institute, O Estado de São Paulo said.

The tower, which will rise 325 metres from the ground, will be equipped with high-tech instruments and an observatory to monitor relationships between the jungle and the atmosphere. It will gather data on heat, water, carbon gas, winds, cloud formation, carbon absorption and weather patterns.

The project has been seven years in the making, with a site finally being selected far from any human presence, about 100 miles from Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas, project coordinator Antonio Manzi told the newspaper.

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Pantanal: The activists fighting to preserve Brazil’s pristine wetlands

September 11, 2014

Mick Brown – The Telegraph, 09/11/2014

Water is life. And in the Pantanal of Brazil, the largest wetland on earth, life is dizzying in its abundance, variety and beauty. We had driven the 100 miles from Cuiabá, the state capital of Mato Grosso, passing through the Cerrado – the huge band of forest and savannah that stretches through Brazil – descending, almost imperceptibly, into the northernmost reaches of the vast natural bowl that is the Pantanal.

On either side of the two-lane road, the land stretched out in a mosaic of flooded pasture and patches of thick vegetation.

It was dusk – ‘the birds’ happy hour’, as Glauco Kimura de Frietas put it – and the sky was a riot of golds and reds. A pair of macaws darted overhead, a flash of red and blue against the dark-green canopy of trees. A flock of storks picked their way through the water, past spreading tufts of water­lilies. ‘Tiger heron, jabiru stork, roseate spoonbills…’ Kimura de Frietas, a biologist and the freshwater programme coordinator for WWF Brazil, checked off the species as we stood by the road, gazing up at the darkening sky, the air alive with the clamour of nature’s most beautiful music.

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Factbox: Marina Silva’s policy proposals for Brazil

September 3, 2014

Anthony Boadle and Paul Simao – Reuters, 08/30/2014

Environmentalist Marina Silva unveiled her campaign platform for Brazil’s Oct. 5 presidential election on Friday, boosted by government data that showed the economy had fallen into a recession in the first half of this year.

Following are her main policy proposals aimed at restoring business confidence and investment in Brazil and putting the country on a path to sustainable growth:

ECONOMY: Return to the basic tripod of policies that gave Brazil financial stability a decade and a half ago: fiscal discipline, inflation targeting and a floating exchange rate, ending central bank intervention that has overvalued the real currency.

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Environmentalist Surges Ahead In Brazilian Presidential Polling

August 28, 2014

Nick Cunningham – Oilprice.com, 8/28/2014

Political change could be coming to Brazil. A new Ibope poll in Brazil shows that an unexpected challenger in the 2014 presidential election would defeat incumbent President Dilma Rousseff in a hypothetical run-off.

Rousseff was once thought to be in a strong position for reelection, but Marina Silva, an ardent environmentalist, has vaulted to the front of the pack.

The daughter of a rubber tapper, Silva had humble beginnings. She grew up poor and was illiterate until she was a teenager. But after years of activism in union politics, Silva was eventually elected senator from her home state of Acre.

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Brazil Vows Water Supply Is Under Control as Basins Dry

August 28, 2014

Vanessa Dezem – Bloomberg, 8/28/2014

The state of Sao Paulo is facing its worst drought in eight decades, threatening the water supplies for 20 million people — but you wouldn’t know that by asking Brazil’s elected officials.

Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin, who is seeking re-election in October, has been minimizing the crisis for the region, which includesSouth America’s largest city. The reaction is a far cry from the response in drought-stricken California, where Governor Jerry Brownhas declared a state of emergency and residents are being fined for watering their lawns.

Sao Paulo state is already rationing water for more than 2 million people in 18 cities. The capital city’s main reservoir is now at only 12 percent of capacity, according to the water utility Cia. de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, known as Sabesp. While the utility received a warning at the end of July that it risks running out of drinking water in 100 days, officials vow the situation is under control.

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