Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro has named an anti-globalist diplomat to lead on foreign affairs and his country’s relationship to the Paris Agreement.
Ernesto Araújo has praised US president Donald Trump and accused the political left of appropriating climate change to serve an ideological agenda. He currently runs Brazil’s US and Canada department, a relatively junior position in the foreign service, and only became an ambassador this year.
On Twitter announcing his new minister, Bolsonaro called Araújo a “brilliant intellectual”.
During the election campaign, Araújo started a blog, which he used to question the moral underpinnings of internationalism. In a post on 12 October, Araújo wrote that the left twisted legitimate causes “to serve their political project of total domination”.
Thousands of studies by hundreds of scientists agree that climate change is real, serious and driven by human activity. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report warned that only radical action can avert dangerous impacts.
Araújo has dismissed that body of evidence, claiming it is selective and politically motivated. “The left has appropriated the environmental cause and perverted it to the point of paroxysm over the last 20 years with the ideology of climate change, the climatism,” he wrote in the blog post.
This movement gathered data “suggesting a correlation” between rising temperatures and CO2, he claimed. They “ignored data suggesting the opposite… and created a ‘scientific’ dogma that no one else can contest or he will be excommunicated from good society – exactly the opposite of the scientific spirit.”
His claims contradict not only the vast majority of climate scientists but also the consensus among world leaders. To date, 184 countries – including Brazil under a previous administration – have ratified the Paris Agreement, agreeing to cooperate to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2017, Araújo wrote in a diplomatic journal that “only Trump can save the west” – a bastardisation of Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger.
Like Trump, Brazil’s president-elect comes to power amid uncertainty about whether he will leave the Paris Agreement. Early in his campaign, Bolsonaro threatened to quit the deal, then in the days before the election took a softer stance.
Araújo, who shares Bolsonaro’s suspicions about the international order, will take charge of the department that oversees Brazil’s position at international climate negotiations.
Brazil is in line to host next year’s UN climate talks. Bolsonaro has given no indication whether his administration will pursue this initiative.
On Wednesday, Climate Home News reported that the election campaign saw a near 50% rise in deforestation compared with the same period last year. Federal environment agents said emboldened criminal gangs had warned them “things will change” under Bolsonaro.
Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is the environmental story of 2018.
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