Brazil to boost beef productivity by 82% to protect Amazon

Mathew Carr – Bloomberg Business, 6/26/2015

Brazil, which was overtaken last year by India as the world’s biggest beef exporter, is encouraging cattle farmers to boost productivity around the Amazon rain forest as it balances environmental protection with economic production.

The nation wants to increase output at beef farms to at least 2 head-of-cattle-per-hectare from about 1.1 head, Francisco Oliveira Filho, director of policies to reduce deforestation at the Environment Ministry, said Friday in an interview in London. Such an increase will ease pressure to fell more trees, he said.

“There is space to increase the productivity of the beef sector in the Amazon region” and the 2 head-per-hectare level has been reached in some of the nation, he said. “On one side you have people that want development at any cost. On the other hand you have people trying to protect everything. We are trying to find something in between.”

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Oil spills from Petrobras pipeline into Brazil coastal area

Jeb Blount, Marta Nogueira and Rodrigo Viga Gaier – Yahoo News, 6/19/2015

Oil spilled from a pipeline linking a main Atlantic Ocean terminal with a refinery near Rio de Janeiro on Friday, Brazil’s state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said.

The spill contaminated a coastal wetland area and leaked into the ocean, a spokesman for the union representing employees at the refinery said.

The narrow coastal region where the spill occurred is in Rio de Janeiro’s Costa Verde or “Green Coast” – one of Brazil’s most beloved tourist regions and home to one of the last stands of the endangered Atlantic-Forest ecosystem.

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Exclusive: Russia, U.S. competing for space partnership with Brazil

Anthony Boadle and Brian Winter – Reuters, 6/15/2015

The United States and Russia are competing for a strategic role in Brazil’s plan to launch commercial satellites from its base near the equator, opening up a new theater in their rivalry for allies and influence.

Brazil’s government expects to choose a partner to help provide technology in the coming months, three sources with knowledge of the deliberations told Reuters.

Brazil partnered with Ukraine over the past decade to develop a launch vehicle at the Alcantara base on its northern Atlantic coast. But Brazil ended the program in February, saying that Ukraine’s financial problems left it unable to provide rockets as promised.

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Brazil’s latest growth agenda banks on slicing Amazon with railroad tracks

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 6/9/2015

Brazil’s latest infrastructure led growth agenda includes a R$40 billion ($13.1 billion) railroad that slices right through the Amazon rain forest. And it largely depends on China.

Now that China is interested in the now-called Trans-Pacific Railroad, Brazil decided to put it on its list of infrastructure concessions announced on Wednesday. The railroad is an old idea that’s been around since 2011. Back then, only Peru was in on the project. Now China has interest and, most likely, money to spend. But considering that this cuts through some of the rainforest, even guys at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will face serious opposition from non-governmental organizations in the area. In fact, this train is probably a train to nowhere even if the AIIB or the China Development Bank invested in the project.

The thing is, the railroad accounts for a sizable 20% of the new wish list of Brazilian infrastructure. Brazil’s government said today that it expects investments in railroads to sum to R$86.4 billion, almost half of it coming from the revamped railroad project announced earlier this month with China and Peru.

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Soiled by oil scandal, Brazil’s model is primed for makeover

Juan Pablo Spinetto, Anna Edgerton, Sabrina Valle – Bloomberg Business, 05/27/2015

Oil was to be the elixir of Brazil’s dreams to build a formidable economy, promote industrial development and fund a more generous welfare state even as it attracted billions in private global investment.

Instead, crisis and disappointment in the oil sector are beckoning Brazil’s leadership to move — if grudgingly — toward more deregulated industries and to temper the government’s hand in using state-run companies to forge broader economic policy.

Which helps explain why, as her second term takes shape, some of President Dilma Rousseff’s ministers have jettisoned the statist language of her first four years in office and those of her popular predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Instead, they are floating some liberal notions more in keeping with the pre-Lula years.

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Brazil plans to ‘nationalise’ rainforest in pioneering plan to protect Amazon

Donna Bowater – The Independent, 5/10/2015

The Brazilian rainforest could be effectively nationalised under a draft bill being considered by the country’s MPs.

The proposed legislation would recognise the sovereignty of Brazil over the Amazon’s natural resources and set up a national Amazonian policy council with the aim of enshrining environmental protection and regulating economic activities in the rainforest.

Should the law be passed, companies wanting to operate in the area would require approval from the new state entity in return for shares of the proceeds – in a similar way to that which oil exploration concessions are granted through state-controlled company Petrobras in return for royalties.

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Brazil struggles with drought and pollution as Olympics loom large

Matthew Wheeland – The Guardian, 5/4/2015

Amid what is normally considered the rainy season, Brazil, the home of the Amazon River, is suffering from a historic, punishing drought.

In a country accustomed to ample water supplies, neighbors are turning against neighbors and hoarding water as taps run dry while businesses close and protesters take to the streets. Some have even speculated that São Paulo, one of the world’s largest cities, is failing.

The costs of a drought are many – water rationing, fines for consumption and constraints on agriculture and industrial production. But for Brazil, a water shortage also leads to another problem: more than 75% of Brazil’s power comes from hydroelectric sources, making it second only to China in reliance on hydroelectric power.

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