Brazil’s New President Awakens Fears for Amazon, the Environment – by Michael Kepp (Bloomberg News – October 29, 2018)

Brazil’s environment could be a target of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who wants to resume dam building in the Amazon basin and has given mixed signals about whether he will pull South America’s largest country out of the Paris climate agreement.

Bolsonaro, who was elected president of Brazil Oct. 28, campaigned on a platform that includes cutting back on environmental enforcement, opening up some protected areas for mining, and building more nuclear power plants.

But he also has backed the solar and wind industries. And even critics have noted that Bolsonaro reversed or rethought some of his positions during the campaign, bringing into question how he will move on environmental issues after taking office Jan. 1, 2019.

“Bolsonaro denies the importance of any type of environmental policy because he believes that it is bad for the private sector, especially agribusiness, which he sees as essential for economic growth,” Adriana Ramos, public policy coordinator at the nonprofit Social Environmental Institute in Brasilia, told Bloomberg Environment Oct. 19. “But the extent to which he will carry out or reconsider positions he has taken regarding the environment remains to be seen.”

Rainforests Could Be at Risk

Bolsonaro, who was a far-right congressman, has called for pulling Brazil out of the Paris climate agreement. But at an Oct. 24 news conference in Rio de Janeiro, he reversed that position, declaring: “Brazil stays in the Paris Agreement.”

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