In the same month climate scientists gave the world the direst warning yet on climate change, Brazil gave the world Jair Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro, a leader of the far-right in Brazil and nicknamed the "Trump of the Tropics,” was elected as the country’s new president yesterday.
Among statements on migration, race, and homosexuality fitting the theme of fascism, the president-elect has remained extremely vague on intentions for the Amazon rainforest.
Many around the world are now worried that Bolsonaro’s support from agribusiness will push him to prioritise Brazil’s economy at the cost of the environment.
Bolsonaro was supportive of Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement — the global agreement for countries to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
However, just last week, Bolsonaro said that if Brazil can have guaranteed control over the Amazon, he does not want to pull out of the agreement. Most likely because pulling out of the Paris Agreement would also mean an end to free trade with the EU.
Whether or not Brazil pulls out of the Paris Agreement, one thing is clear: for Bolsonaro economic productivity weighs much more heavily than environmental impact.
Even if business sense prevails and Bolsonaro stays in the Paris Agreement, he can still exploit the Amazon by defunding environmental protection agencies like IBAMA, the Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, implementing laws against deforestation in the Amazon.
When Donald Trump decided to leave the Paris Agreement, U.S. politicians, companies and citizens took power back by promising to uphold the agreement regardless of the president’s decision.
For those worried about what Brazil’s new president means for climate change, you can take action into your own hands and donate to Cool Earth.
Cool Earth is a Kinder-vetted, highly effective nonprofit protecting rainforests through conservation for the trees, to offset carbon emissions, for the animals and also for local villages.
“Helping Cool Earth to halt tropical deforestation makes a real difference. Perhaps the biggest difference we will make in our whole lives.”– Sir David Attenborough