Brazil election climate alert

    In Brazil’s first-round election on October 7, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro outperformed what polls predicted to win 46% of the vote — less than 5 points short of an outright victory. His top rival, left-leaning Fernando Haddad, earned 29%. The two will face each other in an October 28 runoff.

That’s from AS/COA Poll Tracker.

According to Megan Darcy at Climate Home News, Bolsonaro plans to gut forest protections and open the Amazon to exploitation, while Haddad is promising to install half a million solar rooftops a year.

From The New York Times, Bolsonaro is a completely dreadful man:

    Jair Bolsonaro is a right-wing Brazilian who holds repulsive views. He has said that if he had a homosexual son, he’d prefer him dead; that a female colleague in the Parliament was too ugly to rape; that Afro-Brazilians are lazy and fat; that global warming amounts to “greenhouse fables.” He is nostalgic for the generals and torturers who ran Brazil for 20 years.

From Fabiano Maisonnave:

    An enthusiast for torture and the 1964-85 military dictatorship, the retired army captain is famous for racist, homophobic, authoritarian and misogynistic rhetoric.

But his views on how to manage Earth’s largest tropical rainforest are just as grim and appalling:

    No more Paris Agreement. No more ministry of environment. A paved highway cutting through the Amazon.

    Not only that. Indigenous territories opened to mining. Relaxed environmental law enforcement and licensing. International NGOs, such as Greenpeace and WWF, banned from the country. A strong alliance with the beef lobby.

The NYT on climate and the environment:

    Should he reach the presidential palace, one loser will be the environment, and specifically the Amazon rain forests, sometimes known as the lungs of the earth for their role in absorbing carbon dioxide. Mr. Bolsonaro has promised to undo many of the protections for the tropical forests to open more lands for Brazil’s powerful agribusiness. He has raised the prospect of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, scrapping the Environment Ministry and stopping the creation of indigenous reserves — all this in a country until recently praised for its leadership on protection of the environment.

On Thursday, he walked back a threat to pull Brazil out of the Paris Agreement, but it’s full bore ahead on the environment and attacking the Amazon forest.

This New Scientist news item notes:

    At one point the country had succeeded in greatly slowing deforestation but in recent years the rate of loss has soared.

    The Amazon rainforest is being cut down to make way for cattle ranches and soya farms. High prices for soya, as well as reduced funding for forest protection, are behind the rise in deforestation.

Illegal mine in the Amazon

Here’s an account of how the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has soared:

    Imazon, an NGO that independently tracks forest trends in Brazil, this week released its monthly deforestation alert, which pegged June’s forest loss in the Amazon at 1,169 square kilometers, an area 343 times the size of New York’s Central Park. That represents a 108 percent increase over last June and tops the previous record of 1,112 square kilometers, which was set back in September 2007.
    (Emphasis added)

Bolsonaro intends to accelerate the destruction from there.

Tom Switzer talked to Matias Spektor, associate professor of international relations at the Fundação Getulio Vargas, Sao Paolo. Seems the economy tanked in 2015 when minerals prices fell away. Since then the political scene has been wracked with multiple corruption scams. Bolsonaro is seen as the outsider with clean hands.

However, he does not have a parliamentary majority, so it is by no means clear how this will all end up.

From the NYT:

    Behind this frightening prospect is a story that has become alarmingly common among the world’s democracies. Brazil is emerging from its worst-ever recession; a broad investigation called Operation Car Wash has revealed wanton corruption in government; a popular former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is in prison for corruption; his successor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached; her successor, Michel Temer, is under investigation; violent crime is rampant. Brazilians are desperate for change.

    Against this background, Mr. Bolsonaro’s gross views are construed as candor, his obscure career as a congressman as the promise of an outsider who will clean the stables and his pledge of an iron fist as hope of a reprieve from a record average of 175 homicides a day last year. An evangelical Christian, he preaches a blend of social conservatism and economic liberalism, though he confesses to only a superficial understanding of economics.

    Sound familiar? He is the latest in a long line of populists who have ridden a wave of discontent, frustration and desperation to the highest office in each of their countries. Not surprisingly, he is often described as a Brazilian Donald Trump.

Sounds more like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte than Trump.

Lula, former popular leader of the left Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, believes he has been stitched up by right-wing capitalist crooks who were still free, and probably would have won had he not been in jail.

See also:

38 thoughts on “Brazil election climate alert”

  1. is your google broken zoot ?

    Of course not, but I am aware of the difference between “homicide” and “death by gunshot”, a distinction that seems to elude you. Hence my request for clarification.

  2. Just as a side point, is there anyone the media considers far left ?

    I don’t see that descriptor at all in the news nowadays, far right is everyone to the right of Bernie Sanders it seems.

    Maybe a better question is who is too far left to be regarded as acceptable ?
    We are frequently alerted to folk that are ( allegedly) too far right. What red flags could alert us someone is too far left I wonder.

  3. Just as a side point, is there anyone the media considers far left ?

    Bernie Sanders for a start. Jeremy Corbyn? Lee Rhiannon?

  4. Zoot
    Just proves gun regulations don’t affect homicide rates.
    Howard’s firearm laws made no difference in the homicide rate trajectory either.

  5. Zoot, I hate to bother you by asking for proof but could you please link to any media source ever linked to on CP that describes anyone of being too far left?
    I’d love to see that if it exists.

  6. I answered your first question.
    Your second question is fanciful and apparently based on the faulty perception that you are some kind of victim.
    For the record, I don’t recall any media alerting us to anybody “too far right”.
    Got some examples of this supposed frequently used description?

  7. FWIW I made the acquaintance of a youngish Brazilian early this year who was disgusted by Lula’s corruption, and said that while he had been a popular trade union leader, his government was a big disappointment.

    And she thought his successor Dilma was even worse. I’m heartened to hear of a democracy where corruption convictions (which in Lula’s case I had not heard queried) actually lead to loss of a Presidency.


    If the economy stagnates, crime levels are high, and the ex-President is in prison, I don’t think it’s any mystery that the Opposition looks headed for a victory.

    In a similar way, Mr Trump presented as a bombastic, ignorant groper, yet it appears Ms Clinton was so loathed, that he got elected anyway.

    As a non-Brazilian, I know little of Senor Bolsonaro. The NYT has its own pet hates. Let’s see what happens. Will the Brazilian Parlt act as a brake on the winner?

  8. How about the first sentence in the first link.

    Fernando Haddad has his work cut out for him. The leftist Workers’ Party (PT) candidate earned 29 percent of the vote in the October 7 election, putting him 17 points behind far-right Jair Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party (PSL).

    Can’t find any descriptor being “ hard left “ or “ far left “, perhaps there is no such thing, but there has to be, yes ?
    Easy to find “ hard right “ and “ far right “ descriptors.

  9. The ABC news service and presenters on RN have a habit of labelling some candidates and Parties “far right”. I hear it often. I’m often not in any position to judge the accuracy of the depiction.*

    It is a term used in the sense of: “unacceptable in polite society, supported only by the ignorant, repugnant.”

    This has been going on for decades.
    It seems to be part of their “house style”.

    I regard it as lazy and editorialising. But then I’m only one listener/viewer. And I still listen to their programs.

    * here are some descriptors rarely heard from that quarter: Stalinist, Maoist, Totskyite, former Communist, Anarchist, Muslim Terrorist, far left, …

    BTW, not wishing to enter the fray on gun restrictions, but a homicide rate represents unnecessary deaths, and my guess is the corpse cares little about the style of its demise: when you are dead you are bl**dy well dead.

  10. The descriptor about which I am being intransigent is “too far”.

    Our highly esteemed colleague’s feelings have apparently been hurt because the media frequently describes some people (people he admires perhaps?) as “too far right”, whilst never deigning to call anybody (nope, nobody at all) “too far left”.

    I’m sorry (no, really), but somebody tell him he’s dreaming.

  11. It’s also tough to address homicide rates if one neglects murders of unborn babies.
    Gun related deaths are a tiny proportion of overall murders.

    It’s up in the air if Brazil or Australia has the worst murder rate.

  12. zoot is right, Jumpy, if you go down that line I’ll have to put you in moderation.

    There was an interesting discussion between Robyn Williams and Sir Philip Campbell, who after 22 years as Editor-in-Chief of Nature has now been appointed Editor-in-Chief of Springer Nature publishing. They both took the view that they would not publish anything new in the way of science denialism unless it offered something new.

    It would have to be something very new on that topic, offering a perspective we hadn’t heard before.

  13. Going back up to the top, zoot said:

    I despair.
    It’s as if the human race has suddenly developed a death wish.

    Yes, it’s hard to be optimistic in the face of news like that.

  14. Sorry Brian.
    It’s just been in the news a lot and QLD parliament, NZ too. I had just been reading about it and was front of mind at the time.
    Will try not to misstep in future.

  15. A word about Brazil.

    I haven’t been following Brazilian politics and economy for the last 10 years, but a quick scout around tells me that it is still a country like no other. Huge resources, great wealth for some, massive inequality, areas of lawlessness, especially in the favelas, where six per cent of the people live, and around the Amazon, where if you get in the way of those exploiting the area through illegal mining and clearing the forest you’ll probably end up dead.

    There is also a landless peasant movement, where families have simply occupied parts of large land estates which often have absentee owners. Google ‘Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST)’, which is said to have Marxist characteristics.

    I heard Sarah Macdonald interview a Brazilian journalist last night. He said that while Bolsonaro was passing himself off as an outsider he has in fact been in parliament for 30 years. He’s an ex-soldier and habitually talks in metaphors of ‘war’. The wealthy elites have backed him, because they fear real social change.

    Apparently WhatsApp is their version of facebook, and the storm of fake news unleashed via WhatsApp has no precedent, even in the US presidential election. All manner of fake videos have been made, mostly to discredit the Workers Party, which Lula founded. Without the support of a fair slice of the poor, no-one could win an election.

    Ambi, there is an article at the BBC Brazil’s Lula: Saint or sinner? I’d keep an open mind about Lula’s guilt until I found an investigative report I felt I could trust.

    Meanwhile for global warming and climate change, the way things are shaping is not good, to put it mildly.

  16. According to the BBC, Bolsonaro won 55.2/44.8.

    However, his party has only 52/513 seats in parliament, second largest to Haddad’s left-wing Workers’ Party, which has 56.

    There are 30 other parties to deal with.

    Comments on the ABC radio suggest that Bolsonaro with no administrative experience of any kind will struggle to get anything much done.

    However, he doesn’t need any competence to let people rip and tear at the Amazon and the environment generally.

    If the economy doesn’t improve he is more vulnerable to impeachment than Trump, or so it has been said.

  17. It seems he is expected to drive down the crime rate also. Ineffective policing and a high homicide rate have been part of the disillusion with the “Workers Party” (sic).

  18. I mean the voters will expect his administration to help lower the incidence of serious crime.

  19. I believe Bolsonaro as talking full 2nd Amendment to address the astronomical crime rate.
    Gun Ownership laws in Brazil are not very dissimilar to Australia.
    Could be an experiment to watch.

  20. I’m prepared to make a prediction.
    In the event that Brazil goes “full 2nd amendment” the homicide rate will escalate (all those good guys with guns shooting bad guys with guns) and the astronomical crime rate will not decrease to any significant degree.

  21. Well let see.
    By t way, justifiable or life defence shooting are not a crime, it’s preventing a crime, so filter that out of any stats if we’re to use them as empirical evidence to any veracity of your prediction.

    I’ve screenshoted your comment and set a 12 month reminder to discuss any changes.

  22. I’ve screenshoted your comment and set a 12 month reminder to discuss any changes.

    On the balance of probabilities, we’ll still be here in 12 months time.

    FWIW, they used to say in the 1980s, a definition of an optimist was an ABC staffer (male, of course) who ironed five shirts at the beginning of the week.

  23. Justifiable homicide is still homicide – and my prediction is the number of homicides will increase.
    If you want to filter the figures in twelve months you’ll need to filter the current statistics as well. Otherwise you’ll be comparing oranges to elephants.
    BTW the old laws are still in operation. I would suggest your twelve month test period should start from the date the new law comes into effect. In real life this means the stats will be available after twelve months plus however long it takes to collect and collate them.
    I think you would be well advised to set the reminder for 18 months or even two years. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to go off half cocked.

  24. Jumpy

    Do I detect another philosophical difference in your mention of justifiable homicide?

    Certainly Australian law recognises that killing a human can be (very rarely) justified. Defensive violence must be proportionate, police should attempt to wound and arrest rather than kill, etc.

    But a death is a death*.

    If twenty fatal shootings occur because violent robberies have increased dramayically, those fatalities are part and parcel of the rich tapestry of crime and disorder. I would suggest they not be omitted from the grim count.

    * we who love life regret any deaths
    “No man is an island”

    What think you?

  25. Jumpy: I suspect armed citizens who try to stand up to Brazilian gangsters will quite likely be either be killed or have their family killed kidnapped or whatever. Ditto citizens who stand up in court as witnesses to a gang crime.
    Could be a lot more effective to make possession of an unlicensed firearm a major offence. Gets around the problem of finding victims who are brave/silly enough to stand up in court.

  26. See Esther Gillingham – Election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil threatens the planet:

    For a decade Brazil has been the most dangerous country in the world for environmental and land defenders. Courageous indigenous and rural landless communities are being killed with little recourse to justice. Impunity and lack of rule of law have exacerbated this trend – of the 1,270 murders since 1985 linked to land conflict in Brazil, less than 10% have ever reached court.

    The situation is about to get worse.

  27. The situation is about to get worse.

    No Brian, soon those environmental and land defenders won’t need courts. They’ll be armed with assault weapons and they’ll be able to blow away the people who are killing them.
    Oh, wait …

  28. One of the problems with Brazil is that what it does in the Amazon will have a very big influence on both the environment and the Brazilian economy.
    Somehow the concerned people in developed countries have got to find protecting the Amazon good for the poor people of Brazil.

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