O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida

Mostrando postagens com marcador Yale GLobal. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador Yale GLobal. Mostrar todas as postagens

quarta-feira, 4 de setembro de 2019

O retrocesso bolsonarista na política ambiental brasileira (Yale Global)

Yale Global, New Haven – 3.9.2019
Environmental Disaster in the Amazon
With fire destroying the Amazon, Brazil is caught between global desires – protecting wilderness versus developing its emerging economy
Claudia Ribeiro Pereira Nunes and Pedro D. Peralta

Brazil has loosened environmental protections and stepped back on international commitments for reducing carbon emissions and deforestation. The Bolsonaro administration in Brazil expresses concern that such protections reduce the country’s sovereignty, transferring value of resources to foreign hands with little control by national authorities and low return to local economies. As more than 70,000 fires rage through the Amazon rainforest, some set by farmers and others out of control, the international community debates how to protect sensitive landscapes throughout Latin America and other developing regions while also supplying critical commodities for global supply chains led by multinationals. Anger, finger pointing and questions about who gains from protections versus development in sensitive areas like the Amazon are no longer simply local or regional matters but issues of global debate. – YaleGlobal


Brazil’s withdrawal from leadership in climate change is under a spotlight. As fire raged over large areas of the Amazon region, G7 leaders held urgent consultation on how to protect the rainforest that represents up to 25 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and contributes to cooling the planet. Brazil, the world’s eighth largest economy and sixth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is caught between global forces – the efforts to protect some of the most sensitive and pristine wilderness versus the desire to develop critical commodities.
More than 70,000 fires rage out of control in the Amazon – many deliberately set to expand farmland – setting off global alarm and underscoring expectations for responsibility by countries not to exacerbate climate change.
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry notified the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in late 2018 that Brazil was withdrawing its candidacy to host the 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties, or COP 25, of the UN Climate Change Convention. The conference, scheduled November 11 to 22 of this year, is dedicated to negotiating implementation of commitments achieved with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015, also known as COP 21.
Although targets for reducing emissions are not legally binding, Brazil initially committed to cutting emissions 37 percent by 2025 plus an “intended reduction” of 43 percent by 2030, using 2005 levels as the baseline. Before this year, Brazil had achieved significant emiss ion cuts, thanks to efforts to reduce deforestation in the Amazon and rely on more energy from hydropower and other renewable sources, including wind, solar and biomass.
Environmental policies from the Bolsonaro administration, in power since January, hindered these achievementsThe administration also opposes Amazonia land-protection demarcation on the grounds of the Convention on Biological DiversityIn response, some donor countries of the REDD+ Programme – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – have frozen or withdrawn their contributions in the absence of clear commitment from the Bolsonaro administration to comply with the previous agreements protecting the rainforest. Those funds are channeled mainly through the voluntary Amazon Fund. Therefore, participating in REDD+ is not legally binding for beneficiary countries or donors when efforts to mitigate emissions and forest degradation are insufficient and incompatible with the framework of the Convention on Climate Change.
The massive fires in the Amazon basin rainforest have shelved previously agreed upon objectives, threatening the global effort for reducing climate-change impacts and worsening the planet’s global greenhouse effects. Tropical rainforest protection is a priority worldwide – part of the global commons, along with air, freshwater, the oceans and biodiversity. International conventions suggest that damage to the global commons requires prompt, adequate compensation.
As an emerging economy, Brazil has experienced rapid development with energy and environmental challenges. A drive along the SP-160 Immigrants Highway from Congonhas Airport in the city of São Paulo to the seaside towns of São Vicente and Praia Grande reveals the history of these development policies. In less than 60 kilometers, the highway drops from an altitude of 700 meters to sea level, displaying cutting-edge civil engineering amid the lush Atlantic rainforest as well as the petrochemical city of Cubatão and Santos, the largest port in South America, to the west. Several overhead transmission lines from the Itaipu hydroelectric dam cross the highway, with three overhead high-voltage power lines and several additional circuits. Itaipu lies within the boundaries of Guarani Aquifer, the world’s second largest aquifer after the Ogallala located beneath the US Great Plains. The major oil refinery area of Cubatão, once the site of substantial environmental damages and known as Death Valley, has improved considerably.
Brazil endorsed the Paris Agreement, which entered into force in 2016, but to become law, formal adoption by Brazilian institutions is also required. Brazil’s constitution establishes that international obligations arising from treaties not specifically dealing with human-rights protections only form part of the legal process and require formal legislative approval. Consequently, agreements like the Paris Agreement and later COP agreements, unlike treaties covering human rights, have no immediate effect, and ratification is subject to approval by Brazil’s Parliament.
In the case of the COP 21 Agreement, the Brazilian minister of foreign affairs sent an explanatory statement to the president in 2016, who upon receiving the document and supporting the content put it forward for discussion to the National Congress. Once approved, the parliament issued Legislative Decree No. 140 in August that year. The Brazilian Government filed the document with the UN secretary-general in September 2016, and the treaty entered into force in November of that year.
Recent challenges to the boundaries of forest reserves for indigenous communities and protected areas in the Amazon, encouraging development and exploration, by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture likely violated the law and the constitution.
Numerous interests want to develop and profit from Brazil’s rich resources, and massive sales of agricultural and forest lands to foreigners have eroded Brazilian agro-environmental protections, accompanied by the introduction of hostile environmental management land practices and decline of value-added products marketed abroad.
Unrestricted access to critical water resources, potential pollution and over-exploitation of aquifers are also cause for concern. The Guarani Aquifer System was discovered in 1996. The largest area of the aquifer lies beneath Brazil, followed by Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Currently, an estimated 66 percent of Guarani’s water resources is used for public water supply and 5 percent for irrigation. At such levels of exploitation, the aquifer could offer clean water for more than 2,000 years, suggests one study. Although strict laws protect the aquifer, a 2009 joint study by the World Bank and the Organization of American States identified 2,000 drilling wells that access the aquifer, three quarters of which provide potable water to the city of São Paulo.
From the biodiversity side, the Bolsonaro government opposes protections for Amazonia lands as set out in the Convention on Biological Diversity, arguing that these undermine the ability of future generations to market or produce value-added, ignoring the goal of sustainable development, as stated in the Brundtland Report.
Also attached to the Convention on Biological Diversity is a specialized multilateral agreement known as the Protocol of Nagoya. The protocol aims for fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of the genetic resources of biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge. The Brazilian Parliament has not yet ratified the protocol, also known as the Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, despite the country having the highest estimated biodiversity ratio in the world. In the absence of this international instrument, a provisional measure on biodiversity went into effect and lays down national rules for access to genetic assets associated with traditional knowledge and the distribution of benefits not yet available to the public. The executive secretary of Conselho de Gestão do Patrimônio Genético will decide details on implementation and enforcement.
All those movements represent a global battle for commodities – for now led by demand for new, rich agricultural lands, essential for ensuring the global food supply after the US-China trade war and tariffs on soy beans. From the start of the trade war, Europe’s media warned about devastation for the Amazon rainforest.
Protected sites may face a bleak future. Bolsonaro plans to turn the UNESCO Word Heritage site Paraty-Ilha Grande area into a giant resort, a sort of “paradise for golfers.”: “Located between the Serra da Bocaina mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean, this cultural landscape includes the historic center of Paraty, one of Brazil's best-preserved coastal towns.” Brazil already has more than 100 golf courses even though there is little interest in the sport.

Claudia Ribeiro Pereira Nunes is a visiting scholar at the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies with the MacMillan Center at Yale. She is head of GGINNS – the Research Group on Global Comparative Law: Governance, Innovation, and Sustainability. She was awarded the 2019 Emergent Scholar Award by the International Conference on Climate Change: Impacts & Responses in April.

Pedro D. Peralta is a senior researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and scientific adviser of GGINNS – the Research Group on Global Comparative Law: Governance, Innovation, and Sustainability.

quinta-feira, 27 de junho de 2019

Authoritarians Fool the World, But for How Long? - David Dapice (Yale GLobal)

Yale Global, New Haven – 27.6.2019
Authoritarians Fool the World, But for How Long?
The G20 must take bold stands on inequality, climate change and human rights – or risk encouraging authoritarianism
David Dapice

A number of trends contributed to two world wars during the last century: protectionism, delusions about national capabilities, isolationist tendencies on the part of some and expansionism from others, scapegoating ethnic groups, rejection of critical thinking and demonization of the opposition. Similar trends gather strength today as strongmen exploit resentment and fear, promising quick and cruel fixes rather than tackling root causes of real problems. The outlook is bleak for a world with a growing population if world leaders do not push back at authoritarians who emphasize divisions while failing to cooperate on trade, migration, climate change and other global challenges. “Conceivably, authoritarian leaders can cooperate with one another, but this will be an uneasy alliance,” explains economist David Dapice. “Hardliners need enemies and are not reliable allies.” So far, the authoritarians struggle to cow education, legal and media systems and a youthful opposition deeply worried about their future. Dapice concludes that the current down cycle could sow the seeds for a cycle of progressive activism. – YaleGlobal

Medford - “Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” These lines, written in 1919 after the upheaval and carnage of World War I, still apply to many parts of the world today.
The United States, the leader of the post-World War II order, elected a president who is in a competition with Baghdad Bob, the famously delusional spokesperson for Saddam Hussein during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  Donald Trump seems intent on destroying trade agreements and alliances with friends while praising dictators with blood on their hands. And polls suggest he has 40 to 45 percent support from voters while Republican senators dare not oppose policies antithetical to their professed ideology and contrary to the interests of their constituents. The United Kingdom, once a builder of a globe-spanning empire, is undecided on whether or how to sever ties with Europe – ignoring the cries of firms that make plans to relocate and drain the country of future tax revenues. India overwhelmingly reelected a Hindu nationalist whose leadership resulted in economic backsliding. Under his leadership as minister, hundreds of Muslims were killed in Gujarat, and as prime minister, Narendra Modi largely remained silent when innocent Muslims were lynched. China has a supreme leader who tries to fit a dynamic and complex society into a 1960s Maoist mold that had proven disastrous. In doing so, he has made many enemies at home and abroad, likely contributing to the collapse of an integrated global economy that had lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty.
Does Xi Jinping really think that China could lead the world without giving citizens access to information with an ever-tighter great firewall? Can he believe that putting Communist Party cells in private firms increases innovation? Will Trump succeed in making America “great again” by raising walls against immigration?
Creating divisions and building walls is a theme that unites these rulers.
We have entered a post-factual world in which reality is at best a footnote. Voters support symbols who speak to their fears, not to the reality of their problems. Even Denmark, among the most egalitarian and happiest places on earth, has seen rising support for a right-wing anti-immigrant party at a time when immigration has averaged only 20,000 a year since 2010 among a population of 5.8 million. Places with more stresses like central Europe, Turkey or Egypt have turned to “elected” authoritarians who suppress the press and opposition parties and demonize minorities while corruption rises. Leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel, a liberal internationalist who said she does not like walls is on her way out. France’s Emmanuel Macron is unpopular, and the anti-immigrant National Rally Party of Marine Le Pen took a third of contested seats in the recent European Parliament elections. No wonder the G20 meetings at which these leaders assemble accomplish so little.
If these trends continue without effective pushback, the expectations are bleak. There will be more controls on migration. But if migrants manage to enter target countries, they will form a marginalized underclass, competing for jobs with native-born workers, many less educated. Climate change, already a driving force for migration at the US-Mexico border, could displace millions more in the next decade. There could be immense pressure to stop people fleeing their destroyed or declining livelihoods, especially if they cross borders. This could go in several directions, from militarized efforts to seal borders with “big beautiful” walls, as suggested by Trump, to more constructive attempts such as giving potential migrants secure choices closer to home.
There will also be more tariffs and higher costs. Prices of goods will increase, and people will have fewer children if they anticipate economic difficulty. The US tariffs in 2018 have cost the average family $419, according to the Federal Reserve, and the 2019 tariffs could cost double that. Lower birthrates and an aging society require more migration. Otherwise, costs in the construction, health care and food processing industries climb – a dilemma for those who dislike foreigners but need them.
The foreign policy implications of an authoritarian world in which each nation strives for narrow advantages and fails to coordinate actions on trade, migration, climate change and other cross-border concerns are not promising. With young people becoming more politically active, their “green” positions may check politicians who try to argue that the “burden” of adjustment should not fall on their nation. Since many localities and major companies already confront climate-related issues, there may even be reason for optimism that cooperation on curtailing fossil fuels will be realized – though probably not fast enough to prevent substantial deterioration of the climate. Still, the advance of cheaper renewable technologies, energy storage and the electrification of vehicles will help immensely. Conceivably, authoritarian leaders can cooperate with one another, but this will be an uneasy alliance. Hardliners need enemies and are not reliable allies.
The outlook for trade is harder to predict. Agriculture remains a politically potent force even though the share of full-time farmers is falling and is already low in most rich countries, usually registering in the low single digits. If farming became less export-oriented, it could evolve into something more like factory farms for many crops, grown closer to final markets. Climate change could also lead to more controlled growing environments. Trump’s tariff policies have trashed foreign markets for US farmers, perhaps leading to long-term displacement as nations retaliate and switch to other sources. Yet his political support holds. If senators from farm states like Iowa, Nebraska and Texas reflected the interests of their constituents, waging trade wars would be more difficult. Temporary fixes such as price supports only lead to larger surpluses, budget deficits and more anger directed against government.
Meanwhile, increasing use of smart robots and lower-cost 3D manufacturing may make clothing and shoe production or electronics assembly more economical, returning such factory work to where the purchasing power is.  If so, this will displace millions of workers in the developing world – again spurring migration – but also lower the volume of trade. Perhaps the world will devolve into trading blocs – the EU and North America are obvious examples, but China and India could form their own regions, too. Some regional groupings, such as Association of Southeast Asian Nations have not managed to increase their intra-group trade shares. How these groups manage relations with the various blocs will determine how open the world system remains. But trade and investment also create rules. A fractured set of rules would make trade more costly and difficult – less than anarchy, but much worse than what had been negotiated over a half century.
Then there is the possibility that the embrace of authoritarian leaders is more a passing fever than chronic condition. “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” former US President Abraham Lincoln purportedly observed.  Younger people accustomed to diversity will become more dominant, many rejecting the populists and parties who claim to defend against minorities. Healthy societies and economies respond to stimuli and change. This down cycle may sow the seeds for the next upcycle – at least if the world learns how to deal with fake news and those who use it for cynical reasons and personal gain.

David Dapice is the economist of the Vietnam and Myanmar Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.