Tag Archives: Climate Politics

Brazil is working with Biden on climate issues, the deforestation of the Amazon, said the foreign minister | Instant News

BRASILIA (Reuters) – The Brazilian government and the Biden government are working together to tackle climate change, an area that appears to be a major hurdle to good relations, Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo attends a press conference at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Brazil March 2, 2021. REUTERS / Adriano Machado / File Photo

Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has developed a close relationship with former US President Donald Trump and is equally dismissive of climate change issues and international agreements.

But that has changed now, according to Araujo, speaking remotely to the Council of America’s hemisphere business forum.

“Something that is considered a hindrance… is completely out of the way. We are now working together … as key partners towards a successful COP26 and fully implementing the climate agreement, ”said Araujo, referring to this 26-year UN climate summit scheduled for later this year.

Araujo said he and Brazilian Environment Minister Ricardo Salles had spoken with President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry and his team. He said there were no “philosophical differences,” only differences in approach.

Araujo was previously viewed as a climate skeptic, calling the theory of human-caused climate change a “Marxist conspiracy.”

He admitted there was illegal deforestation taking place in the Amazon, which he said the government was fighting against.

“The readiness to cooperate on deforestation does exist,” he said, adding that the United States was open to “sustainable investment” in the Amazon.

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest hit a 12-year high in 2020, when an area seven times the size of London was cut down, according to government space research agency INPE.

It follows a huge leap in deforestation in 2019, when Bolsonaro took office and moved to undermine environmental enforcement, which he criticized as being too much.

Araujo said Brasilia wanted to forge an alliance with the United States based on values ​​of “democracy and prosperity,” with Brazil needing US investment to transform itself into a modern market economy.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien


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The extreme climate appears to be dangerous for unborn babies in the Brazilian Amazon | Instant News

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A new study linking extreme rain with low birth weight in the Brazilian Amazon region underscores the long-term health impacts of climate change-related extremes, researchers said on Monday.

Heavy rains and heavy flooding during pregnancy have been linked to birth weight loss and preterm birth in Brazil’s northern Amazonas state, according to researchers from Britain’s Lancaster University and the health research institute FIOCRUZ.

They compared nearly 300,000 births over 11 years with local weather data and found babies born after extreme rainfall were more likely to have low birth weight, which is associated with poorer education, health, and even income as adults.

Even non-extreme intense rainfall was associated with a 40% higher chance of a child with low birth weight, according to the study published on Monday in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Co-author Luke Parry said heavy rains and floods could lead to an increase in infectious diseases such as malaria, food shortages and mental health problems in pregnant women, leading to weight loss at birth.

“This is an example of climate injustice, because these mothers and communities are very, very far from the deforestation frontier in the Amazon,” Parry told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“They are contributing little to climate change but being the first and the worst,” he added, saying he was “shocked by how severe the impact was”.

Heavy flooding in the Amazon river is five times more frequent than it was a few decades ago, according to a 2018 paper in the journal Science Advances.

Last week, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visited the neighboring Brazilian rainforest state of Acre, which is in a state of emergency after heavy flooding.

Parry said that local people have adapted their lifestyles to cope with climate change, but “river heights and extreme rainfall have substantially exceeded the adaptive capacity of the community”.

The negative impact is even worse for adolescents and indigenous mothers.

The study said the “long-term political neglect of the Amazonia province” and the “unequal development of Brazil” needed to be addressed to tackle the “double burden” of climate change and health inequalities.

It said policy interventions should include antenatal health coverage and transportation for rural youth to complete secondary school, as well as better early warning systems for flooding.

Reporting by Jack Graham; Edited by Claire Cozens. Please acknowledge the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity, covering the lives of people around the world who struggle to live free or fair. Visit news.trust.org


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Australian youth lead class action against expanding the Whitehaven coal mine | Instant News

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A class lawsuit against a coal mine extension that begins on Tuesday could complicate the approval of coal mines in Australia on the basis of intergenerational fairness and climate change, if claimants prove successful.

The landmark claim, by a group of eight teenagers from across Australia, began Tuesday in Melbourne Federal Court and is expected to last five days, but decisions may not be made for several months.

Students think that Australian Environment Minister Susan Ley has a duty to protect them from climate change and that the expansion of the Vickery Whitehaven Coal coal mine in the state of New South Wales will contribute to climate change and jeopardize their future.

“In the community, there is hope that a large coal mine like this is approved at the federal level and that is why we are concerned,” said principal David Barnden of Equity Generation Lawyers.

“It’s about emissions and contributions to climate change, and the dangers for people who are still children today.”

Ley’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters, but he told local media he was unable to comment while the court case was ongoing.

Vickery’s open pit coal mine will produce most of the metallurgical coal for steelmaking as well as some of the higher grade thermal coal and is awaiting final ministerial approval.

This will create 450 sustainable jobs over the course of the operation at a net economic benefit of A $ 1.2 billion ($ 930 million) in the country, Whitehaven estimates.

“Our position with regard to litigation … is that legal claims have no merit and should be dismissed,” said Managing Director and CEO Paul Flynn in a statement.

“As the Australian economy begins to recover from the impact of COVID-19, it is imperative that large job-generating investments in the economy are not delayed by legal claims that have no substance.”

Coal is Australia’s second most valuable resource export, valued at about A $ 37 billion in the financial year to June, government figures show.

Climate change has become a divisive topic in Australia, one of the world’s largest emitters of per capita carbon. The country’s conservative government has won successive elections on a platform of supporting Australia’s dominant fossil fuel sector.

($ 1 = 1.2902 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Melanie Burton; Edited by Jacqueline Wong


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Missing ‘library’: Natives of Brazil mourn the deaths of elderly people from COVID | Instant News

RIO DE JANEIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In January last year, indigenous journalist Ihunovoti Terena interviewed tribal elders across Brazil at an indigenous gathering in Piaruçu, a village in Mato Grosso state.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Brazil two months later, and began suing many indigenous leaders, he realized he had recorded some of them one last time – and that other knowledge that was not recorded or passed down was lost forever.

“Many … who were there lost their lives,” said Ihunovoti, 28.

Some 970 native Brazilians have died since the COVID-19 pandemic began last March, according to a tally by APIB, Brazil’s largest indigenous association, which represents many of the country’s 900,000 indigenous people.

At least 223 of those who died were aged 60 or older – but that figure could be higher, because the APIB cannot record the ages of most of the victims, the data show.

The deaths represent a huge cultural loss of indigenous peoples, where a lot of traditional knowledge is passed down from generation to generation in conversation, said adat representatives.

“Our elders are custodians of tradition, custodians of wisdom, advisors and holders of unique spiritual knowledge,” said Nara Baré, coordinator of COIAB, the largest umbrella group for Brazil’s Amazonian indigenous people.

“Seeing them leave is, on the one hand, witnessing another aspect of the destruction of our people.”


Partial data collected by APIB shows three indigenous communities in Brazil that have been hardest hit by the pandemic: the Terena, Kokama and Xavante. Each of them lost more than 50 members to COVID-19.

In the first months of the pandemic, Lindomar Terena saw as many as four of its citizens die on the same day. At least 58 Terenas – who live in southern Brazil – lost their lives last year.

Lindomar, who is part of the council of the Terena people, now hopes he has recorded the stories and traditions told by the lost elders.

“In some Terena villages there are … dances that our young people no longer understand,” he said.

Also missing, he says, are long-held traditional fortune-telling skills.

Some of Terena’s dead elders knew how to tell when it would rain, and how the moon’s phase affected plant growth, Lindomar said.

In a society where parents effectively act as “libraries” for knowledge and traditions, the virus has left gaping holes in shelves, he said.

“The identities of (our) people are destroyed. Our people see that our library is damaged. “

The indigenous Kokama community, in the Amazon region, lost at least 59 people to the coronavirus, APIB data shows – although Glades Kokama, one of its leaders, said the figure was close to 92.

Among the dead were elders fluent in the native language of the disappearing community, and with knowledge of traditional medicine and food, he said.

The majority of deaths from the Kokama pandemic occurred last year, before vaccinations against the virus became available.

In Brazil, indigenous peoples living in nature reserves are now listed as priority vaccinations, and many communities are already immunized.

Some, however, reject vaccines – and the elderly can be among those most strongly against it, Glades said.

“Some (elders) believe in the vaccine, but some don’t. We try to explain it to them, but we have to respect the elders, “he said.

The refusal to be vaccinated is speeding up efforts to try to log their knowledge and insights, in case the worst happens, Glades said.

“We have to write everything down, because we are at risk.”


Crisanto Rudz Tseremey’wa, president of Fepoimt – a federation of indigenous peoples in Mato Grosso – and a representative of the Xavante tribe, said 68 in his indigenous community had died, including his parents.

The older son is studying in Brasilia, and when the boy returns home, he should be taught the traditions of the nation by the elders in the family.

Now Tseremey’wa is the only one left to do so.

“I was with my son, who said that this was an irreparable loss,” said Tseremey’wa. “This pandemic is not about numbers (who died), it’s about family. It’s about ancient knowledge. “

In some places, the deaths of elders due to COVID-19 have accelerated ongoing efforts by indigenous youth to record more of the community’s wisdom, traditions and history to try to prevent its loss.

Some of Terena’s youth, for example, have made video and audio recordings of the history and culture of their communities after fires that previously destroyed written records, Ihunovoti said.

Now they are increasing their efforts.

“If the community starts promoting this, the videotape… will be there forever. Not only in memory, but digitally, ”he said.

Reported by Fabio Teixeira @ffctt; Edited by Laurie Goering. Please acknowledge the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity, covering the lives of people around the world who struggle to live free or fair. Visit news.trust.org


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The EU says it doesn’t need Nord Stream 2, but only Germany can block it | Instant News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union does not need the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for its energy security but any decision to stop a project bringing Russian natural gas to Germany must come from Berlin, a senior European Commission official said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A worker is seen at the gas pipeline construction site Nord Stream 2, near the city of Kingisepp, Leningrad region, Russia, June 5, 2019. REUTERS / Anton Vaganov

The $ 11 billion pipeline project led by Russian state energy company Gazprom, whose completion is more than 90%, will double the capacity of an existing submarine pipeline passing through Ukraine and eliminate Kyiv’s transit costs.

The project pits Germany, the EU’s biggest economy, against central and eastern European countries that say it will increase the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas.

“For the EU as a whole, Nord Stream does not contribute to the security of supplies,” Ditte Juul Jorgensen, director general of the Commission’s energy department, told lawmakers on the European Parliament’s industry committee.

Investments over the past decade in other pipelines, liquefied natural gas import terminals and interconnectors in Europe have secured sufficient supplies to meet the bloc’s energy needs, he said.

Any decision to stop the project must be made by Germany, said Juul Jorgensen.

“Actually stopping development requires a decision at the national level. That is not a decision that can be taken at the European level, “he said.

Nord Stream 2 is facing increased scrutiny as European relations with Russia deteriorate over the treatment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

The European Parliament last month asked the European Union to stop building a pipeline in response to Navalny’s arrest.

On Monday, EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on four senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin, in large part symbolic action on the issue.

Despite US sanctions on the pipeline, Berlin is sticking to Nord Stream 2, which it says is a commercial project.

(This story adds the dropped “official” word)

Reporting by Kate Abnett; Edited by Sonya Hepinstall


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