Jair Bolsonaro almost achieved a clear majority in the first round of Presidential elections in Brazil. Why am I talking about Brazilian politics? Because this person has made clear that in many ways he is the Brazilian Trump. He raves against the Elite, attacks basic science and supports the brutal Brazilian dictatorship from a few decades ago and the methods they used, including torture.
In theory we can say, well these are all issues for people within Brazil and therefore are not of interest to a nature blog written by someone living in the UK. He has talked about forgiving all land seizures within the Amazon and making it legal as well as cutting virtually all environmental controls which are the things that have successfully reduced the deforestation of the Amazon.
There is another way that he is similar to Trump, he is promising to withdraw Brazil from the Paris climate agreement.
Furthermore, despite attacking the rest of the world as trying to remove the sovereignty of Brazil over the rest of the world’s desire to make sure as much of it is preserved as possible, he attacked indigenous people’s rights to live in Brazil’s rainforest without having them cut down around them as harshly. He even suggest that the world’s support of Brazilian indigenous people is specifically there to try to take the forest from the Brazilian government.
As with Trump these arguments simply don’t stand up to any careful analysis but again us with Trump that doesn’t seem to matter.
If he wins, the Ministry of Environment will be abolished and its portfolio passed over to the Ministry of Agriculture. This portfolio in turn has been turned over to the beef industry. Given the amount of the Amazon Rainforest that has already been lost to land for grazing cattle this would clearly threaten the rest of the rainforest.
Some of these promises to remove rules over protected areas seem to be personal. In 2012 he was caught fishing in a protected area and was fined $2,700 and he seems to have had it in for the agency that enacted this punishment ever since. This agency Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), he promises, will be stripped of all responsibilities which will then be farmed out to other agencies who have a vested interest in stripping the forest bare and allowing it to be used for other things.
Apart from the absurdity of seeing policies like this enacted by Trump and thinking that you want someone similar, recent analysis showed that apart from the USA standing to lose more than almost any other country to global warming, the other two countries that make up the three worst off are Brazil and India. As such this would be a huge own goal.
Let us hope that saner heads prevail in Brazil than did in the USA.