It is perhaps a cruel irony that, on the same day the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a landmark call for urgent action, Jair Bolsonaro surged to victory in the first round of Brazil’s presidential elections. Although the leader of the far-right Partido Social Liberal did not achieve the 50 percent of the popular vote required to win outright, and will now have a runoff against Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party, his rise has posed some painful and divisive questions both within Brazil and beyond.
Mr. Bolsonaro has openly spoken of the need for a military coup and has a record of racist, misogynistic and homophobic views. He is often compared to Donald Trump in the U.S., and such parallels can also be seen in the protectionist economic doctrine Mr. Bolsonaro has adopted in this election, for instance, a promise to end the banana trade with Ecuador to protect Brazilian producers.
The electoral success of this divisive figure leaves Brazil at a crucial turning point. There have already been numerous analyses of what this could mean for Brazilian politics – but what could it mean for the environment?