February 23, 2015
Zachary Davies Boren – The Independent, 02/23/2015
February 19, 2015
Jeb Blount – Reuters, 2/18/2015
Heavy rains during Brazil’s four-and-a-half-day Carnival holiday offered the first relief in months for the country’s drought-stricken and economically crucial southeast, but was unlikely to end fears of water and electricity shortages.
A cold front along Brazil’s southeastern coast near the two principal cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro brought heavy rains on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to most of the region and the neighboring center-west, home to much of the country’s farm belt.
The southeast is Brazil’s most populous and economically developed industrial region. The southeast and center-west together produce the bulk of such key Brazilian export crops as soybeans, coffee, sugar and orange juice.
February 12, 2015
Ruth Costas – BBC, 2/11/2015
Renato Soares has seen all sorts of problems in the 33 years he has been running a small laundry in a middle-class neighbourhood in Sao Paulo. But with Brazil’s biggest city facing potential water rationing, he thinks his biggest headache may be about to arrive.
“We have survived recession, hyperinflation, arbitrary changes in legislation and a complex bureaucracy and tax system,” Mr Soares says. “We were also robbed twice. So at this point I didn’t think a day would come in which I would seriously think about closing my business.
“But how can I operate a launderette without water?”
February 12, 2015
Peter Millard and Sabrina Valle – Bloomberg Business, 2/10/2015
Petroleo Brasileiro SA redirected a well at its biggest oil discovery after encountering a pressure zone, underscoring the technical challenges facing the producer’s new management team.
The “drilling phase” of the well at the offshore Libra field hasn’t been halted because of the procedure, the Rio de Janeiro-based state-run company said in an e-mailed response to questions Tuesday. A snag caused the company to halt drilling for more than a week, two people with knowledge of the matter said earlier, asking not to be named because the matter isn’t public. Libra is expected to start commercial output in 2020.
While Petrobras expanded output to a record in December at the so-called pre-salt region that holds Brazil’s largest deposits, it has also run into drilling disruptions in the past. In 2010, it abandoned the first well it started at Libra, citing mechanical issues. In 2011, it briefly halted production at the Sapinhoa field in the same region after a pipe ruptured.
February 10, 2015
Chris Arsenault – Reuters, 2/10/2015
A plan to reduce climate-changing emissions from Brazil’s steel industry has failed, causing the amount of carbon pollution produced by the sector to double in less than a decade, researchers said.
Brazilian steel producers switched their energy source from coal to charcoal from forests, causing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to rise to 182 million tonnes in 2007 from 91 million tonnes in 2000, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
“Increased global demand for steel, and a lack of available plantation forest in Brazil, increased the industry’s use of charcoal sourced from native forests, which is not carbon neutral and emits up to nine times more CO2 per tonne of steel than coal,” Laura Sonter, a University of Vermont scientist and the study’s lead author, said in a statement.
February 5, 2015
Jenny Barchfield – ABC News, 2/5/2015
The world’s mightiest waterway, the Amazon River, is threatened by the most diminutive of foes — a tiny mussel invading from China.
Since hitching its way to South America in the early 1990s, the golden mussel has claimed new territory at alarming speeds, plowing through indigenous flora and fauna as it has spread to waters in five countries. Now, scientists fear the invasive species could make a jump into the Amazon, threatening one of the world’s unique ecological systems.
“There’s no doubt the environmental effect would be dramatic,” said Marcia Divina de Olivieira, a scientist with the Brazilian government’s Embrapa research agency.
February 5, 2015
Mac Margolis – Bloomberg View, 2/4/2015
Water is to Brazilian politicians what oil is to Latin American petrocrats — just a pipeline away, too abundant to fret over. Except when it’s not.
Despite a summer storm over the weekend, Rio de Janeiro is parched, and its reservoirs are depleted. Sao Paulo is worse: the Cantareira System of interconnected lakes that supplies water to 8 million people is dipping into its “dead volume,” roughly the equivalent of the red zone on your car’s gas gauge.
January rains were enough to cause flash floods and craters in the streets, including one that swallowed a motorcycle in Sao Paulo, but not to top up the nation’s depleted reservoirs and hydroelectric dams.