Latin America

Tue, 2012-06-26 11:58Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney's picture

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
Chris Mooney's picture

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.

Mon, 2011-11-28 07:55Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney's picture

Do Developing Nation Journalists Cover Climate Science Better (or at Least Better Than U.S. and U.K. Papers)?

As the European debt crisis scrapes along, there has been talk about the possible need for developing nations, like China and Brazil, to ultimately help bail out some spendthrift “developed” nations.

A new study suggests that maybe they should also help bail out some of our media.

The study comes from James Painter of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and his colleagues. After looking extensively at climate change coverage in major papers in six nations—the U.S., UK, France, Brazil, China, and India—the paper finds that global warming “skepticism” is “largely an Anglo-Saxon phenomenon.”

Consider a selection of findings:

Tue, 2010-11-30 14:40Emma Pullman
Emma Pullman's picture

Cancun Showdown: Results at the UN Climate Talks More Important Than Ever

The United Nations Climate Change talks kicked off yesterday in Cancun.  For many, the mood began much more sombrely than last year.  Copenhagen attracted celebrity clout, world leader buzz, and a sense of optimism for a binding agreement.  For all Copenhagen promised, however, those who hoped for a fair and binding global deal left empty handed.  

Along with analysts, pundits and the blogosphere, the U.S., UK and EU are already downplaying the chances of a deal being reached in the next fortnight.  And as Desmogblog reported today, those fears may not be in vain with threats that the U.S. may pull out of the talks early

The talks during the next two weeks are going to focus largely on forests and finance, but also on questions about the legal status of a future agreement and emissions targets, which are expected to be tackled beginning next week when ministers arrive.

The sense of general pessimism around the talks has led some to question the viability of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to deliver, and has led others to manufacture doubt over the scientific basis for action.  A new report released by Oxfam argues that despite the disconsolate atmosphere, a year of extreme weather conditions demonstrate more than ever that a binding climate agreement under the UN auspices is imperative.  The report, More than ever: climate talks that work for those that need them most, presents the weather events that have devastated much of the planet in the last year, and the even more harrowing costs of climate inaction.  

According to the report, at least 21,000 people died due to weather-related disasters in the first nine months of this year – more than twice the number for the whole of 2009.  “This year is on course to experience more extreme-weather events than the 10-year average of 770. It is one of the hottest years ever recorded,” wrote Tim Gore, Oxfam’s EU climate change policy adviser and report’s author.

Thu, 2010-05-13 12:15Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Denial-a-palooza Round 4: 'International Conference on Climate Change' Groups Funded by Exxon, Koch Industries

In what has become an annual non-event, the Heartland Institute will gather the who’s-who of the global warming denial network together in Chicago this weekend for the fourth International Conference on Climate Change

As in years past, the event is expected to receive very little mainstream media coverage.  The deniers like to think the reason is some liberal media conspiracy.  In reality, the lack of interest stems chiefly from the fact that this denial-a-palooza fest is dripping with oil money and represents a blatant industry effort to greenwash oil and coal while simultaneously attacking the credibility of climate scientists.

Despite the lack of press interest, the show must go on.  After all, the Chicago meet-up will provide deniers and industry front groups a chance to coordinate their ongoing efforts to smear the reputation of the IPCC, and they can reminisce about the Climategate non-scandal like boys in the schoolyard kicking around a rusty old can.

For insight into the underlying aim of the Chicago denier conference, let us take a look at the funding sources for the sponsoring organizations.

Mon, 2010-03-15 11:45Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

It Takes More than Dead Trees to Make a Credible Newspaper

An article in last week’s British paper, The Telegraph, claimed that the IPCC had made yet another significant mistake – this time overstating the sensitivity of the Amazon rainforest to drought.  It turns out that the article severely misrepresented the state of the science. While that one very dry year did not produce the kind of vegetation changes detectible by satellite imagery, it did, in fact, kill a number of trees, turning the rainforest from a “sink” that absorbed 2 billion tons of CO2, to a “source” of even more CO2 from the resulting number of dead trees. The culpa for an initial post to Desmogblog, taking the IPCC to task, is exclusively mea.  The correct narrative of the rainforest’s vulnerability to severe drought comes courtesy of the scientists at Realclimate.

Wed, 2008-11-26 09:55Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Spain breaks wind power generation record

At 5 a.m. Central European Time (CET) on Nov. 24, wind power reached a new record of meeting 43% of Spain’s electricity demand - with 9,253 MW of wind energy in operation - of the 21,264 MW total demand.

The previous record was broken March 22 at 6 p.m. CET, with 40.8% of the demand, or 9,862 MW. At 12:30 p.m. CET on Nov. 24, 10,263 MW were being produced simultaneously. The previous record of 10,880 MW of wind production was reached on April 18 at 4:50 p.m. CET, representing 30% of the peninsula’s demand.

According to La Asociacion Empresarial Eolica, wind energy prices could drop to 6 euros per MWh. Wind energy has experienced a savings of 2.077 billion euros for the electrical system (4.50 euros of savings per citizen).

Thu, 2008-05-29 13:35Bill Miller
Bill Miller's picture

Book cites population growth as key driver of global warming

After virtually abandoning the issue for three decades, the environmental movement got a bold reality check this week from a new book highlighting relentless human population growth as a driving force behind global warming.

This wouldn’t have raised eyebrows in the 1970s, when the modern environmental movement had its genesis and Paul Erlich’s “The Population Bomb” was on just about everybody’s bookshelf.

Since then, however, overpopulation has dropped from the vocabulary of most environmentalists despite a near doubling of the world’s numbers to an estimated 6.8 billion people today.


Tue, 2008-04-29 16:35Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Terra Preta, Biochar, Black Gold: a Climate Change Solution

It's no silver bullet, but Terra Preta de Indio, a centuries-old agricultural-waste management and fertilization practice, may provide part of the solution to global warming - and to the gathering world food shortage.

Terra Preta is a literal description of the “dark earth” that European explorers first discovered in the Amazon basin, earth that researchers now believe was enriched with charred agricultural waste. Preparing and mixing this biochar into the earth is a great way to sequester carbon AND to fertilize crops.

There are a host of challenges - a large number of hurdles to clear before biochar can be guaranteed as a useful solution to climate change - but when asked if it's a possible goal, Cornell University Assoc. Professor Johannes Lehmann, one of the world's leading experts on biochar, said: “Absolutely!”

Fri, 2008-04-11 14:16Bill Miller
Bill Miller's picture

Indigenous peoples seek key role in global climate talks

A climate conference in Brazil’s Amazon basin has drawn indigenous groups from 11 Latin American countries, Indonesia and Congo. In the largest gathering of its kind, they came to forge a plan whereby wealthier nations would compensate developing countries for saving tropical forests.

Scientists reckon tropical deforestation causes 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. An international carbon-trading plan was a central topic last December at a climate conference in Bali, Indonesia.

Pages

Subscribe to Latin America