Brazil’s new president has scientists worried. Here’s why

Source: Science Magazine

Brazil has long been a frontrunner in climate change policy and environmental diplomacy. The international conventions on climate change and biological diversity, for example, were born during the historic United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and Brazil played a key role in crafting and implementing both agreements.

That legacy is now at risk. Since he took office on 1 January, Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has dismantled several government divisions dedicated to climate change. The former army captain and far-right congressman has also named Cabinet members who are openly hostile to the fight against global warming.

Government officials say climate change will continue to be a priority. But scientists and environmentalists are alarmed. “We have to wait and see what’s going to happen, but so far it doesn’t make much sense,” says Emilio La Rovere, a climate change and sustainable development researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Scientists also worry that religion may infringe on science in the new government’s policies.