Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Brazil Acknowledging Impact

A New York Times story describes how scientists and political leaders in Brazil are having their "AHA!" moment regarding the impact of climate change on their nation.

The factors behind the re-evaluation range from a drought here in the Amazon rain forest, the world’s largest, and the impact that it could have on agriculture if it recurs, to new phenomena like a hurricane in the south of Brazil. As a result, environmental advocates, scientists and some politicians say, Brazilian policy makers and the public they serve are increasingly seeing climate change not as a distant problem, but as one that could affect them too.
There has long been pressure on Brazil to better manage the Amazon Basin - the largest CO2 sink and oxygen producing region in the world. Until now, Brazil has stood fast in its independent approach to dealing with the destruction of the forest in favor of agricultural and timber interests that fed into its growing economy. Now, it's beginning to reconsider some of the issues that have caused international friction in the past.

As rainfall patterns change, Brazil now realizes that its recent agricultural prosperity may be at risk. Dependable water flow is also essential to its plans for damming tributaries of the Amazon to produce electricity. As with may countries (see U.S., India and China, for example) Brazil stands to cook the very goose that has been laying its golden eggs.

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