Nepal | July 09, 2020

Brazil’s environmental changes under Bolsonaro

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Share Now:

RIO DE JANEIRO: The administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has cancelled a United Nations climate change workshop to be held in the city of Salvador in August, reaffirming its lack of interest in participating in international efforts to fight global warming. This is not the first time the far-right Bolsonaro has made clear he intends to make major changes to Brazil’s environmental policy, including opening the globally vital Amazon rainforest to development and agribusiness. His environment minister has called climate change a “secondary issue.” Here’s a look at some of the key measures taken by Bolsonaro’s administration, which took office January 1.

INDIGENOUS LANDS

During the campaign, then-presidential candidate Bolsonaro vowed that if elected, “not a centimetre” more of land would be demarcated for indigenous reserves. Within hours of taking office, he issued a series of decrees that critics said would benefit his allies in Brazil’s powerful pro-development “rural caucus.” On January 2, Bolsonaro transferred responsibility for delineating indigenous territories from the Justice Ministry to the Agriculture Ministry, which one lawmaker described as “letting the fox take over the chicken coop.” The decree also transferred the agency for indigenous affairs, known as FUNAI, from the Justice Ministry to a newly created Ministry for Family, Women and Human Rights that is headed by an ultraconservative evangelical pastor. FUNAI oversees health care, housing and language preservation for indigenous groups.

CABINET APPOINTMENTS

Bolsonaro’s ministerial appointments are in line with his campaign promise to help businesses expand operations in Brazil, including into its protected areas. His agriculture minister is Tereza Cristina, who was part of the powerful agribusiness caucus in Congress’ lower house and has opposed requests from indigenous communities. The environment minister is Ricardo Salles, a lawyer and former environment secretary for São Paulo state. Much like the president, Salles believes talks around climate change are too ideologically charged. He wrote in 2018 in the online publication Medium that agribusiness in Brazil was “under threat.” Climate change-sceptic Ernesto Araujo was named foreign minister. On his blog, Araujo described climate change as a “dogma” used by the left to foster China’s growth, and said he wanted to “help Brazil and the world liberate itself from the globalist ideology.”

UN 2019 CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT

In November 2018, after the new administration was elected but before it was sworn in, Brazil’s foreign ministry decided to withdraw its offer to host the 2019 United Nations conference on climate change. The ministry cited “current fiscal and budget constraints,” but activists and environmental groups considered it a nod to then President-elect Bolsonaro, who had already mentioned the possibility of withdrawing Brazil from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

During the campaign, Bolsonaro said he would follow the footsteps of US President Donald Trump and leave the Paris climate accord. But just before the election, he backpedalled and said he would remain as long as Brazil’s sovereignty in the Amazon was not threatened or challenged. The South American nation holds about 60% of the Amazon rainforest, the preservation of which is seen by scientists as crucial in the campaign to slow climate change. Efforts by Brazilian authorities to reduce deforestation rates received world recognition a few years ago. But recently, groups monitoring illicit harvesting have reported a double-digit increase in deforestation in the Amazon region. Brazil’s commitment to other aspects of the Paris accord is unclear but environmental groups say either way, Bolsonaro’s plans to open the Amazon to greater development would make it impossible for Brazil to meet its reduced emissions targets in the coming years.

OIL EXPLORATION

Bolsonaro’s government is planning to auction several offshore fields in the country’s northeast, which had been earmarked as “highly sensitive areas” by Brazil’s environment institute, IBAMA. An IBAMA study said oil spills in these blocks could lead to the destruction of the Abrolhos islands, an area of 353 square miles (913 square kilometres) that is home to a marine national park. Critics say the government’s decision to ignore the recommendation and include the fields in the auction shows the new administration is determined to bring investors to Brazil despite environmental costs.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Silva shines as Man City thrash Newcastle 5-0

MANCHESTER: David Silva scored one goal and made two more as Manchester City put on a passing masterclass to overwhelm Newcastle United with a 5-0 Premier League victory on Wednesday. Having announced that he will leave the club at the end of this season after a 10-year spell, the 34- Read More...

Salah double keeps Liverpool on track for points record

BRIGHTON: Mohamed Salah scored twice as champions Liverpool moved on to 92 points with a 3-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Wednesday. The victory kept Liverpool on target to secure a record Premier League points tally, with Juergen Klopp's side needing nine from Read More...

Adequate social security key to minimise impact of COVID-19, says PM Oli

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said protection of the most vulnerable, including migrant workers and those in informal sectors, and provision of adequate social security and health care was the key to minimise the impact of COVID-19. Addressing virtual ‘Global Summit on COVID Read More...

Suarez scores as Barca condemn Espanyol to relegation

Barca beat Espanyol 1-0 in city derby Suarez won the match with his 195th goal for the club Espanyol were relegated after 26 years in La Liga  BARCELONA: Barcelona kept up their pursuit of leaders Real Madrid in the La Liga title race by beating city rivals Espanyol 1-0 at home Read More...

Coronavirus pandemic affects Nepal’s sovereign credit rating process

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 The country’s sovereign rating assessment is likely to be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though the government had awarded Fitch Ratings, a United States-based international credit rating agency, to study and confirm Nepal’s sovereign credit rating in December l Read More...

Human rights awareness, Human rights education

‘Respect rights of vulnerable people’

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 International partners, civil society and humanitarian organisations have been working together to support the Government of Nepal’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, read a joint press statement issued by United Nations, various embassies and international agencies in Nepal to Read More...

SP-N notifies EC of Giri’s expulsion

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 Samajwadi Party-Nepal today wrote a letter to the Parliament Secretariat stating that it had expelled lawmaker Sarita Giri from the House of Representatives. Assistant Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Dasharath Dahamala said his office would inform Speaker Agni Pra Read More...

Man held for swindling job aspirants of hefty amount

Swindler allegedly offered ‘fake offer letters’ to victims  KATHMANDU, JULY 8 Police have arrested Bijay Pandey, 34, on charge of swindling lakhs of rupees from at least seven persons on the pretext of securing them employment at World Health Organisation’s Nepal office. Pandey, who ha Read More...