I’m delighted to report that one of my Hopeful Predictions for 2022 has come true.
Bolsonaro was elected President of Brazil in 2018. While in office, he not only failed to protect the Amazon from continued deforestation but he actually did everything in his power to accelerate this crime against humanity.
During Bolsonaro’s first three years in office, more than 34,000 square km (8.4 million acres) of forest disappeared from the Amazon – the fasted rate ever and a 52 percent increase compared to the previous three years.
Some experts predicted that if that rate of deforestation had continued, the Amazon’s destruction would have accelerated past the point of no return.
Lula’s election is nothing short of breathtaking.
He first ran for President in 1989, finally winning that office in 2002 on his third try. He was resoundingly re-elected four years later, governing for a total of eight years during which he radically reformed the Brazilian economy and social programs — including lifting over 20 million Brazilians out of poverty.
By 2012, at the end of Lula’s allowed two terms in office according to Brazil’s constitution, his approval rating was in the stratosphere.
Brazil’s constitution does allow previous Presidents to run again after a break and Lula announced in 2017 that he would run for President in the 2018 election, He was soon polling miles ahead of his nearest contender, Bolsonaro.
The right-wing political forces had long feared that Lula would regain office and as early as 2015 had instigated an investigation against Lula on the grounds of influence peddling. They found a compliant judge, Sergio Moro, willing to head an investigation — which became known as Operation Car Wash — against Lula and numerous others. Moro subsequently laid corruption charges against Lula and others (in Brazil judges are permitted to lay criminal charges), acted as senior judge in the successive trials, and convicted and ultimately sentenced Lula and 175 others to prison.
Lula’s conviction led to a 2017 sentence to jail for nine and a half years — a verdict which prevented him from running in the 2018 election. Judge Moro’s imprisonment of Lula made it possible for Bolsonaro to sail to an easy victory. Bolsonaro then appointed Moro to his cabinet as Minister of Justice.
Despite numerous legal appeals and media campaigns calling for his release, Lula remained in jail until new evidence came to light in 2019. An American non-profit news organization, The Intercept, unbelievably managed to obtain leaked Telegram app conversations between Judge Moro and Chief Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol that took place every evening throughout Lula’s trial. After the court had adjourned for the day, Judge Moro and Prosecutor Dallagnol would conduct lengthy discussions, during which the judge would advise and direct the prosecutor on how to proceed the following day.
The Intercept published this explosive evidence in a series of articles in June 2019.
These recordings caused an uproar in Brazil and around the world. On September 8, 2021, Judge Edson Fachin of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court annulled all convictions against Lula, a decision upheld by the full Supreme Court on April 15, 2021, just in time for Lula to run in Brazil’s 2022 Presidential election.
Lula has promised to bring deforestation in the Amazon to an end, but humanity is not out of the woods yet by any stretch of the imagination.
Even if Lula delivers on his promise to save the Amazon, which I have no doubt he will do, we are still headed for the abyss unless the industrialized nations immediately and drastically reduce their carbon emissions.
However, if Bolsonaro had been re-elected and given the ability to continue destroying the Amazon for another four years, even world-wide carbon reductions would not have stopped the collapse of our climate.
Go Lula Go!
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (Nov 4, 2022): 416.55ppm
One year ago (Nov 6, 2021): 414.35ppm
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