University of São Paulo: Top presidential candidates disappoint on issues related to the environment


The 2022 Brazilian elections take place on October 2nd and it is important for voters to be aware of the proposals of the presidential candidates. The perspectives for the solution of environmental problems are fundamental, therefore, the environment is a topic that demands attention from everyone during the electoral period.

Professor Pedro Luiz Côrtes, from the School of Communications and Arts (ECA) and the Institute of Energy and Environment (IEE) at USP, analyzed the government proposals related to the environment of the four main candidates for the Presidency. The documents can be accessed on the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) portal and the candidates were chosen based on the latest surveys.

The four programs analyzed address deforestation. According to the professor: “One program mentions zero net deforestation, that is, with recomposition of degraded areas and reforestation of biomes, and it is the only one that effectively talks about reforestation”. The other programs talk about combating fires, combating deforestation, working to increase productivity without causing deforestation, in addition to combating land grabbing, illegal mining and illegal loggers. “One of them proposes the creation of a blacklist of companies that promote deforestation, land invasion and illegal mining. There is also a list of companies involved in illegal work practices, related to slave labor or similar activities”, comments Côrtes.

emission of pollutants
In relation to greenhouse gases, only two programs mention the topic and they still deal with the issue in a superficial way. The professor points out: “One of the programs talks about the development of actions for the reduction and mitigation of greenhouse gases and rational use of natural resources and another talks about accelerating targets for reducing these gases and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” .

Carbon credits are important for Brazil, but only two programs mention this and approach the topic without the necessary depth. Côrtes reports that one of them talks about acting in the carbon market by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and the other about organizing, formalizing and regulating the national system for the carbon credits market.

When it comes to water resources, only one program has the intention of reducing pollution. Another says that he is going to establish a unified system of granting authorizations for the use of hydrographic basins and that this would be under the responsibility of the National Agency for Water and Basic Sanitation (ANA), that is, it will federalize the concession.

The topic is fundamental for the country: “Given that we use water resources a lot to generate electricity, we had a very important drought last year and this is not mentioned. We also really need water to supply our metropolitan regions”, reiterates the professor.

Environmental Protection
Regarding the indigenous community, which is very important for the environmental issue, because indigenous reserves are normally the most protected areas, especially in the Amazon biome, three candidacies mention this. Côrtes informs: “One of them mentions that the territorial reserves destined to its population are respected, which is an obvious thing. Another says that the government must provide indigenous peoples, quilombolas and riverine people with freedom of responsible use of natural resources and mentions the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and quilombolas”.

The last program considers the need to protect the rights and territories of indigenous peoples, quilombolas and traditional populations. However, none of the three plans mentioned explains how this will effectively be done or strategies for doing so.

Risk areas are not mentioned by any of these analyzed programs. The professor recalls the tragedies in Petrópolis and those that occurred on the northeastern coast due to excessive rain to emphasize that the topic deserves the attention of candidates.

In general, the proposals do not cover all the needs that the Brazilian territory has. “Some topics are superficially addressed as if it were ‘look, I mentioned this, I worry about it.’” But they don’t advance strategies, even if it’s a quick signal of the strategies that will be used. There is a disappointment regarding the approach of these main candidates in relation to environmental issues, some advances in relation to what we saw in the previous presidential election, but there is still much to be desired”, concludes the professor.

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