February 18, 2019

The Climate Is Doomed Without Brazil

“Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right nationalist who on Sunday was elected Brazil’s new president, has been called the “Brazilian Trump.” But he’s more extreme than that. His rhetoric is more explicitly violent and bigoted, and his rule threatens more than just the fourth-largest democracy in the world. The livability of the entire planet is at stake.

The Amazon rainforest, more than half of which is within Brazil’s borders, covers 4 percent of the earth’s surface and is a major regulator of the world’s climate. Its trees act as a sponge for carbon dioxide, absorbing the planet-warming gas from the atmosphere and re-emitting it as oxygen.

But Bolsonaro, according to HuffPost, “has committed to stop demarcating indigenous lands in the Amazon and further open the forest to mining interests. And he has pledged to loosen regulatory regimes over land-use and deforestation in the world’s largest tropical rainforest.” He also has strong ties to Brazilian agribusiness leaders who push for deforestation to make room for farming. He has said he’ll keep Brazil in the Paris climate agreement, but only if he can maintain control of the Amazon.”

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