- 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.
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.
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.