Brazil: Ecologists Mad at Lula


Brazil: Ecologists Mad at Lula

Brazilian environmental groups are not happy with the measures
taken by a government that
they expected would be much friendlier
to their cause. Brazil’s largest NGO’s dealing with
environmental
issues sent President Lula a letter expressing their indignation
over the policies adopted by
his administration.

by:
AB

 

Non-governmental organizations decided to manifest their frustration over measures adopted by the government in
the environmental area. On Monday (20), the country’s major environmental networks sent President Luiz Inácio Lula da
Silva a letter in which they let off steam and expressed indignation over the decisions that have been adopted in the sector.
The document is signed by 500 NGO’s, among them, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth – Brazilian Amazon, the SOS
Atlantic Rain Forest Foundation, and the Pro-Nature Foundation (Funatura).

According to the NGO Friends of the Earth, the letter expresses a refusal to accept decisions that place the
country’s sustainability at risk and highlights the inclusion in the 2004-2007 Pluriannual Plan (PPA) of infrastructure projects with
a strong potential for worsening the situation of deforestation and land concentration in the Amazon. Another criticism
made by these organizations refers to the authorization for planting transgenics.

In the letter, the NGO’s affirm that "the measures contradict the government’s program, weaken the
socio-environmental policies and the transversal guideline proposed by the Minister of Environment, Marina Silva, and lead to the erosion of
the government’s image and credibility before national and world public opinion."

According to Friends of the Earth, the NGO’s ask the Presidency to adopt an emergency agenda, with concrete
steps, to reverse decisions that have a great impact on environmental sustainability, such as respect for the principle of
precaution, compliance with environmental legislation, combating deforestation, and strengthening the Ministry of Environment.

On October 16, World Nutrition Day, protesters from the non-governmental organization, Greenpeace,
demonstrated against the sale of transgenic soybeans, to warn consumers about products in which it is not identified as an ingredient.

In a Brasília supermarket, the activists taped labels saying "Careful, may contain transgenics" to various products,
such as cereal bars, cookies, tomato sauce, and cooking oil.

Similar demonstrations were planned for the coming days in supermarkets in other cities, such as Belo Horizonte,
Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, and São Paulo.

EU and the Amazon

"There is a very clear consciousness nowadays that you can’t protect the environment of the Amazon if you exclude
the people who live there," the European Commission councilor in Brazil, Thierry Dudermel, declared recently. He
explained that the philosophy behind the application of resources by countries in the European Union for the preservation of the
Brazilian Amazon has been changing and is no longer concentrated exclusively on the environmental aspect.

"It is also fundamental to improve the living conditions of people who live in the Amazon forest, through their own
social development," the European Union representative underlined.

Meanwhile, at the installation, October 20, in Rio, of the executive board of Nuclebrás Heavy Equipment S/A
(Nuclep), the Minister of Science and Technology, Roberto Amaral, underscored activities for the recovery of the company,
which currently shows an annual deficit of R$ 40 million (US$ 13 million).

According to Amaral, the company could, for example, participate in the reconstruction of the missile launching
platform at the Alcântara Base (MA) and provide equipment for the construction of Petrobras’s platforms P-51 and P-52 and for
the shipbuilding industry, which is going through a phase of recuperation. The company could also develop services for the
entire heavy industry sector, as well as study the possibility of setting up joint ventures with the governments of Ukrania,
China, and the United States, countries with big nuclear energy plant construction programs.

Amaral defended the construction of Angra III, which, according to him, has a defined terrain and has already
imported the equipment it needs. He said that a definition about the plant would represent "an extraordinary leap for Nuclep and
for Rio de Janeiro, since the orders would be placed here."

Nuclep was created on December 16, 1975, to serve the Brazilian Nuclear Program.

Amaral also announced that the renewal of the Brazil/China Nuclear Program is guaranteed for 2004. The Minister
is back in Brazil after three days of negotiations in China. The details of the program’s renewal will be worked out by a
commission that will travel to China in the second half of November.

Amaral disclosed that one of the items that were negotiated is Chinese participation in the construction of the Angra
III nuclear energy plant, in a joint venture with Eletrobrás. The Minister said that the partnership includes, initially, the area
of nuclear medicine, food irradiation to increase durability, seed irradiation to improve quality and kill germs, and
eventual Brazilian participation in the construction of nuclear industrial plants and reactors.

The Minister highlighted the possibility of an association in the production of rice and cotton. Amaral explained that
Brazil developed technology for the production of highlands rice, with little water consumption, a technique unknown to the
Chinese. As for cotton, Brazil is able to produce it in two colors, while the Chinese produce cotton in five colors.

Another project that is under study with China involves new generation reactors. There is already an agreement with
the United States for this purpose. Amaral explained that the goal is to increase the security and useful life of existing
reactors and reduce nuclear wastes.

 

The material for this article was supplied by Agência Brasil (AB), the official press agency of the Brazilian
government. Comments are welcome at lia@radiobras.gov.br

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