"Despite increasing global concern, Jair Bolsonaro is determined to expand his
exploitation of Brazil’s crucial natural resources. His latest project, one of
the most destructive yet, would rapidly deforest large areas of the Amazon.
Bolsonaro’s plan? To construct a 1,000km railway system extending right into
the heart of the Amazon rainforest – with trains passing within 500 metres of
726 official environmentally protected areas. The new railway, called
Ferrogrão, would also entail construction within 10km of another 18 priority
conservation areas established by the ministry of the environment.
The pretext for Bolsonaro’s environment-destroying plan is a problem that,
while real, could be easily addressed through far less harmful measures.
Currently, soybeans and other grains grown in the Brazilian midwest must travel
a considerable distance – 2,000km – to reach seaports in the states of São
Paulo and Paraná. The proposed railway would reduce transport costs and
increase the competitiveness of these products in the international or national
market by roughly 8%.
This underscores a key point of tension between Brazil and the international
community. One reason the Amazon, a massive carbon bank, is so crucial to
global climate policy is that countries in the global north became rich by
exploiting their own natural resources, including through massive
deforestation. Now that western European and North American countries are
economically developed, they demand that Brazilians not do what they did:
exploit our environmental resources so that we, too, can thrive economically.
Many Brazilians, understandably, resent the hypocrisy.
It is true that Ferrogrão, like so many of Bolsonaro’s projects, will result in
serious environmental harm to the Amazon and thus the world. Yet it is not
enough for western governments and environmental NGOs to lecture Brazil; they
should compensate us for the economic costs of the environmental protection we
must undertake on the whole planet’s behalf."
Via Robert Sanscartier.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics