Brazil's Potential Global Warming Crisis

Their far-right leader poses a threat to the Amazon rainforest

With a world increasingly affected by climate change, the idea that the US president, Donald Trump, dismisses it completely is incredibly daunting. However, the new Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro is poised to create even more environmental damage, and slow down the progress being made against climate change.

Brazil is home to the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon, in which deforestation is a huge problem. The 2015 Paris Agreement, committed Brazil to reducing carbon dioxide emission by 43 percent by 2030; a goal that directly links to reducing deforestation in the Amazon. However, there are claims that Bolsonaro has pledged to withdraw from the Agreement, following the example of Donald Trump. Furthermore, he has vowed to end environmental licensing for infrastructure projects, which would allow many more areas of the Amazon to be used for developments. If this pans out, the rate of deforestation could triple, with the Amazon’s vast amount of locked up carbon, being released back into the atmosphere. At a time where climate change is slowly beginning to change our environment, this would be a large-scale disaster, especially as Brazil is the sixth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

Bolsonaro has also suggested that he would get rid of the Environmental Ministry (mandated to protect the environment) and dismissed the idea to set aside some part of the Amazon especially for indigenous tribes. Both of his plans are incredibly dangerous for the Amazon’s community, as well as posing an unprecedented threat to the environment. During Bolsonaro’s 2018 campaign, an increase in deforestation in the Amazon of 36 percent was already seen, with the same ignorance for environmental regulations predicted to rise with his presidency.

The Amazon is home to 10 percent of the known species in the world and is known as the lungs of our planet, due to it producing an astounding 20 percent of our oxygen. With just a 3°C rise in our global temperature, 75 percent of the rainforest could be destroyed, which makes the idea that Jair Bolsonaro is a complete non-believer in global warming quite scary. This is a harsh reminder of how much more we should be doing to protect our environment, as politicians won’t always help, so we should be making the change ourselves.

Natalia V