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Tue, 2012-06-26 11:58Chris Mooney
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Climate Denial in Brazil: A Translation

This is a translation of the May 2, 2012 “Programa do Jo” on Globo, a half hour interview with the climate skeptic geographer Ricardo Augusto Felicio on global warming. On YouTube alone, the interview has nearly 700,000 views; in Brazil, Globo is a dominant television networkOriginal clip here; for a critique of the content, see here

Tranlated by Beatriz Vianna, a Ph.D. student in biology at West Virginia University who is originally from Brazil.

Jo Soares: Today we are also gonna talk about global warming! With a climatologist who says that global warming is B.S. [Joke that can’t be translated]. I’m gonna talk to Ricardo Felicio…come over here!

[Music]

Jo Soares: So, you are a professor at the geography department at USP [São Paulo University]. And what do you study specifically–climatology, right?

Ricardo Augusto Felicio: Antarctic climatology, from the Antarctic continent, for 20 years already.  

Jo Soares: Only the Antarctic continent?

Ricardo Augusto Felicio: Yeah, that is my area of expertise, but the other ones  too…. there is no way to separate it (laughs).

Jo Soares: Of course! And you’ve been in Antarctica a few times…

RAF: Two times already.

JS: What do you think of the global warming theory–that the continent’s [Antarctica’s] ice is melting?

RAF: Yeah, to begin with, this is not even a theory, it is a hypothesis. It  does not need scientific proof. There is no scientific proof of global warming. It’s been 26 year–in fact, it’s about 3,000 years this “story” exists. Our researchers from the Climageo team have researched about this information. This has been debated already by the ancient Greeks: “If trees were cut the planet’s climate would change….”

JS: So ancient Greece already talked about that?

Mon, 2012-06-25 06:37Chris Mooney
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Climate Denial Hits Brazil

Last year, I wrote about how journalists in developing nations were doing a better job of covering climate change, largely because denial hadn’t really taken root in many of these countries. In particular, I singled out Brazil for praise: According to a study by James Painter of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and his colleagues, Brazil’s major papers contained the least climate skepticism in all of the 6 major nations surveyed (U.S., UK, China, France, India, Brazil).

So it is with much dismay that I report to you that, in conjunction with the Rio+20 conference, climate denial is making a strong showing in Brazil. I initially became aware of this troubling development through a Brazilian Facebook correspondent—and received helpful translations of some of the content itself from another Brazilian and Portugese speaker.

In what follows, I’ve also had to rely on Google translate a bit—hardly ideal, but necessary in this instance, as I don’t speak Portugese. While I certainly wouldn’t trust any quotations below to be precise, I do think they give the broad gist of what is being said.

Basically, the high profile denialism achieved liftoff due to the popular comedian Jo Soares, who gave it quite a boost on his widely watched Letterman-like Programa do Jo (The Jo Show, we'll call it). In May, Soares had on the geographer Ricardo Augusto Felicio, for a nearly half-hour denial fest that has gone pretty viral.

Who is Ricardo Augusto Felicio? He’s a professor at the University of Sao Paulo, specializing in the study of Antarctic climate. His faculty webpage says—according to Google translate—that he “Conducts research and serious criticisms of climate variability and its consequences, demystifying the ‘anthropogenic climate change’ and its ideology embedded.” In other words, he seems to be wearing his denial proudly on his sleeve.

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