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We ignore science by celebrating ignorance

We ignore science by celebrating ignorance

Everything is visible, but we pretend that we see nothing. The tragedy took the form of rain and storms like the cunning killer. Nature is screaming for help, but we hear nothing. Inaction takes hold of us like an epidemic that silently kills and paralyzes us.

Everything is happening before us, as it happened a few days ago in Sorocaba, inside São Paulo, in a real disaster that destroys and kills. In 2023, the coast of São Paulo had already experienced something similar, destroying homes and claiming victims, but the disaster was not enough to wake us up.

Climate change has become a crisis that is getting worse day by day. The horror that befell Sorocaba, which was shown on television and detailed in this newspaper, is enough, but society and public authorities are not interested in the problem. I do not fall into the ridiculous childishness of wanting to resolve everything in a “decree” that “prohibits” heavy rains, storms and their consequences.

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However, we must get to the bottom of the climate crisis, before it becomes irreversible.

Providing assistance to those affected is, as is the case now, an act of solidarity, both in Sorocaba and in the south of the country, where the storm has destroyed more. But it is foolish to worry about the consequences and ignore the causes. It is like treating a fever by giving the patient more and more water, without looking for the source of the fever.

Years ago, it rained every day in Amazonas, Pará, Acre and other areas of the Amazon. These areas are now suffering from a severe drought, which has dried up rivers and impeded navigation. It is as if the rain moved to the southeast and south in the form of a storm, so the area is not known…

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We are on the verge of chaos, but we are not worried about taking drastic measures.

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Governments and major corporations (such as multinational corporations) remain blind and deaf to the commitments made in 2015 in the Paris Agreement to contain the expansion of global warming. The agreement stipulates restricting the use of fossil fuels (by the end of the century) to reduce global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. But since the 2021 climate summit, only 0.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere have been removed, less than 1% of what they committed to by 2030, the deadline to avoid disaster.

Will it be possible within six years to remove what has been polluting the atmosphere for more than a century?

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Allusions to the Paris Agreements around the world have become tiresome. But in Brazil, this is not talked about. Treatment of the environment was disastrous during the previous government headed by Bolsonaro. The then Environment Minister’s unfortunate notion that the Covid-19 pandemic (which focused media attention) was “passing the herd” has not yet dissipated. Later, the former minister ran for federal representative and was one of the four most voted in the state of São Paulo.

Today, others are the rulers, however flock Keeps passing…

Science points to the use of fossil fuels as the main cause of global warming. Cars spread carbon dioxide everywhere, and the solution is electric cars. But the current government has increased import tariffs on electric cars, as if this (in itself) stimulates national production. More serious was the decision to continue with the implementation of the Abreu y Lima refinery in Pernambuco, demonstrating that oil remains a priority. It was not enough that building the refinery was one of the goals of Operation Lava Jato, which demonstrated the corrupt collusion between politicians and big companies.

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But Brazil is still betting on oil, contrary to what science says. Petrobras wants to extract at the mouth of the Amazon River, which has not been accomplished (yet) due to the opposition of the Minister of the Environment. In the midst of this controversy, President Lula da Silva did not say anything, and recently Petrobras announced that it would drill the so-called Equatorial Margin, near the Rio Grande do Norte.

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The climate crisis is a fundamental issue of the 21st century, with consequences for population health. The current dengue outbreak has expanded due to rain and storms in different parts of the country, and the accumulated water has caused the proliferation of Aedes aegypti, the vector of the disease.

Long periods of drought followed by rains and storms interfere with agriculture, posing a threat of hunger around the world.

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In addition to the science, there are other warnings. Published Lodato CPope Francis reminded that “our homeland” is under threat and incorporated the idea of ​​not having “two planets” into everyday life. UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a dramatic warning: “We are building a global catastrophe.”

But there are also positive initiatives, such as the University of São Paulo's experiments in developing ways to fuel cars with renewable, non-polluting hydrogen, and replace diesel in buses and trucks. But the federal government only discovered this through the news in this newspaper.

In short, we ignore science by cultivating ignorance.

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Journalist and writer, Jabuti Prize for Literature 2000 and 2005, APCA Prize 2004, retired professor from the University of Brasilia