Brazil, a land of contrasts

Another story out of Wired, this one dated 16 May 2005, reports on the success Brazil is having with ethanol and biodiesel [LINK]. Usually people say that using biofuel is a zero sum gain as far as climate change goes, since it takes carbon from the living biosphere and puts it into the atmosphere, only to be reabsorbed by the biosphere as new crops are grown. So, if this holds, as it should I guess, Brazil is starting to get it. Unfortunately, Brazil is also destroying the Amazon at an alarming rate [LINK].


michaelm said...

Hi Brian,
I read the link you provided on Brazil destroying their forests, which I've definately learned before. Interesting to me, they say, "Brazil lost 2.3 million hectares of Amazon forest between August 2002 and 2003..." which may well include much foreign-owned forest being clearcut (i.e. McDonald's or whoever). Clearly, one could argue that they could regulate what is done on privately owned land with forests, but I wonder how much of the millions of hectares of lost forest is taken by non-Brazilians?

.brian said...

I have no idea, but I'll bet your hunch is right. Probably a very large fraction is destroyed by foreign-owned companies in various guises. I'd still say that the Brazilian government has providence over the whole forest, and could protect places even if the logging/mineral rights have been sold.