Ecuadorians have voted to halt oil drilling in an Amazonian national park – GOOD NEWS!

The referendum on Yasuni reserve will benefit a huge range of species, along with several groups of uncontacted tribes of indigenous people. The vote was not close, with 90% of votes counted protection won by around 20%. It will also keep around 726 million barrels of oil in the ground. Given that one barrel is 158 litres, that is 114 billion liters of oil, and as each one emits at least 3 kg of carbon dioxide, this is going to save 350 billion kg of carbon dioxide released into the air. This is a huge win for the environment, but also for the wildlife of the Yasuni reserve.

Amazon deforestation has fallen over 60% since last July

Great progress is being made in slowing rainforest destruction in Brazil with great falls in the last year. It is true that this rate needs to fall to zero in the near future, but great progress is being.

A lot of this progress is as a result of the end of the Bolsonaro regime, and could swing back should a similar person come to power.

However, what is clear is that if the Amazon reaches a tipping point and starts to dry out, it will rapidly die, and at this point there is unlikely to be enough rain for the regions croplands to remain (the crops will no longer grow as a result of the lack of rain).

It is essential that the rest of the world invests heavily in this region, in order to give a clear alternative to soy and cattle rearing in order to earn a living.

Brazil has enough unutilized cattle pastureland, to allow soy cultivation to increase by a third without any further deforestation

There is a constant tug of war, between developed countries which are encouraging developing countries to continue to protect their wildernesses, and the developing countries wish to be able to develop – to lift their citizens out of poverty.

Granted, the majority of deforestation does not benefit the people on the ground, but it does not stop politicians in these countries arguing that those in the west cannot stop development by demanding conservation of ecosystems.

However, the amount of land that has been deforested in Brazil, is far in excess of what is needed for cattle pasture and experts have calculated that Brazil (the worlds number one Soy producer, and biggest beef exporter) could increase the amount of land used to grow Soy by a third without cutting one extra tree down.

We can only hope that with the election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the unregulated deforestation will stop. There is a great deal of space in Brazil for intensifying agriculture, which would allow a significant increase in productivity and goods coming from the agriculture lands, without cutting down any more rainforest.

Of course, this is partly a matter of survival. While some people on the ground in Brazil may wish to cut down more rainforest in order to have more cropland, the more forest is cut down, the less rain the remaining forest produces.

Soy cultivation can expand in Brazil, by one third without cutting down another tree – by taking over unused grazing land

There is a constant tug of war, between developed countries which are encouraging developing countries to continue to protect their wildernesses, and the developing countries wish to be able to develop – to lift their citizens out of poverty.

In one shot: soy farming at the front, rainforest behind and you can see cattle grazing areas at the back

In one shot: Soy cultivation at the front, standing rainforest is next and in the back you can see areas of cattle grazing
Continue reading “Soy cultivation can expand in Brazil, by one third without cutting down another tree – by taking over unused grazing land”

Lula wins!

Time will tell how good Lula is, but the world has had a reprieve!


Lula, the new president of Brazil – it would be hard to be worse than Bolsonaro

So what has Brazil turned its back on?

Jair Bolsonaro time in office was characterized by attacks on:

  • Democratic institutions (from human rights institutions to deforestation watch, many more)
  • The Media
  • The Left (given Bolsonaro was far right, this means virtually every opponent politician)
  • The Amazon rainforest

So what did Lula run on?

  • Social Justice
  • Environmental protection
  • Defending democracy
  • Reunifying the country

Will there be a peaceful handover of power? No one knows. Jair Bolsonaro, like Donald Trump before him has stated many times over the last few months, that he cannot loose a fair election. As an outsider, it is hard to see how he would ever win a fair election but there we are.

He has the support of much of the army (a former soldier himself) and there is much concern that he could throw the country into chaos, and would have a far greater chance of actually overthrowing the government than Trump did in the USA.

He only won with a margin of 2%, and as of yet Bolsonaro is still yet to comment on the results. If Lula is allowed to retake the presidency, then it will mark the end of an incredible comeback,

Lula was president from 2003-2010. After this, he spent time in prison for corruption convictions – later annulled.

Pro – Bolsonaro Truckers have blocked highways across Brazil in protest, but nothing worse has yet occurred.

Finale of the Brazilian election! Who will will, will the earth get a reprieve?

The worlds rainforests are concentrated in a small number of countries. As a result, there are a handful of countries where, they have the potential on their own to make climate change far worse.

What is going to happen in Brazil? Will the world get a reprieve or will Bolsonaro (right) get a second term – likely guaranteeing much of the rainforest collapse

These countries include many of those in the Congo basin in Africa, and the countries of south east Asia.

Perhaps the biggest, is Brazil: and unfortunately we have had to watch as the current president Jair Bolsonaro has done everything as badly as possible. Could it have been worse for the world? Perhaps, but it would have been hard.

What is frustrating, is that he is terrible for Brazil. He has the bizarre support of the evangelical Christians, and he has made sure that the middle class has benefitted from his time in office, never-the-less, he has destroyed much of the institutional blocks to serious damage in his first term, so may be able to do more damage in his second.

What is his worst record? 688,000 deaths from Covid, having declared what should he do and having minimized it as the little flu. This is the second most deaths in the world after the USA (largely as a result of Donald Trump minimizing the issue -see a pattern?) despite being 5th in the number of cases. The illness hit indigenous people hardest (possibly intentionally? Certainly it helps Bolsonaros many aims). For the world, though, Bolsonaro will be remembered as someone who vastly increased the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and there is a great deal of fear that the rainforest is getting close to collapse as a result of his behaviour. Not only will this cause huge problems around the world, by releasing billions of tonnes of carbon, but it will also change rain patterns, leading to crop failures in Brazil as well as countries around.

Currently Lulu has a 4%-8% lead in the polls, however, unfortunately 4 years ago the polls underestimated Bolsonaro support so this may mean little. In a similar way to Trump, there is a certain proportion of the population who are embarrassed by their support for the leader, so are unlikely to be honest in polls.

In a debate Bolsonaro spent his time just attacking his opponent and does not seem to have any ideas for the future of the country.

In the first round, Jair Bolsonaro got 43.2% while Lula got 48.4% so he is comfortably ahead, but what happens now is still on a knife edge.

Is it possible to buy beef from South America, and be sure your not supporting deforestation? A new study suggests not

It would appear that no matter what supermarkets are saying, South American beef is still encouraging deforestation. According to a new study 1.1 million cattle with boot directly from protected areas within in the rainforest, with a further 2.2 million cattle found to have spent at least some of their lives grazing in protected areas or on indigenous land.

It should be noted that this study largely stops taking you data in 2018. This is not because they got bored, but because at the beginning of 2019 Jair Bolsonaro olsonaro was elected and change the rules so they could not do the work they were doing.

As much as 70% of the Amazon rainforest deforestation has been entirely down to creating space for cattle grazing. While virtually every meat producer has promised not to source their meat from these areas, information appears to be kept intentionally lacking so that these meat producers can get away with using resources they have promised not to.

Quite apart from the high carbon footprint of consuming South American beef in Europe, it is clear that we cannot do, and be sure we are not contributing to the loss of the Amazon rainforest.

I should mention (as I have in the past) that my family have largely seems to eat beef. We have not gone vegetarian, but have found that replacing beef mince with turkey mince not only greatly reduces our carbon footprint but is almost indistinguishable after it has been cooked. If you must eat beef (unless something changes dramatically this is likely to always have an unacceptably high carbon footprint) at least eat British beef- not only should it have much lower travel carbon footprint, but there are no rainforests in the UK to be lost.

Did Jair Bolsonaro set up a new board to publish deforestation data in July to mislead?

So, Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Lula de Silva have both made it through to the final round for the presidency.

However, the fact that this new deforestation data board was set up 3 months ago, in the run up to an election. This at a time when Jair Bolsonaro is being hit for his terrible record on deforestation during his first term. In other words, people are claiming that this is purely a political organisation to help him pull the wool over the countries eyes.

Brazilian deforestation is a problem for the world. Giving scientific responsibility for monitoring and reporting forest loss to a political body is mad – we will no longer know what’s happening, if Jair Bolsonaro wins re-election
Continue reading “Did Jair Bolsonaro set up a new board to publish deforestation data in July to mislead?”

So, the Brazilian people first vote was not clear enough to avoid a run-off – will the Amazon rainforest get a reprieve?

Yesterday, the first round of the Brazilian election was not clear enough. While Lula (Jair Bolsonaro competitor) received 48.3% of the vote – however, the Brazil law requires a vote to be over 50%. As a result, the winner and the runner up – Bolsonaro, go to a run-off set for the 30th of October. Jair Bolsonaro received 43.3% of the vote.

Continue reading “So, the Brazilian people first vote was not clear enough to avoid a run-off – will the Amazon rainforest get a reprieve?”
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