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Bem-vindo(a) Brazil may have “admitted that its growth fell from around 4% to just 2.7% in 2011” (TIME, April 23, 2012), but the largest country in South America is still one of the most vibrant economies and lively societies in the world. From samba dancing to investing in energy proj­ ects, Brazil is on the move. The challenge for such an emer­ ging economy is unique: 60% of the Amazon rainforest lies within Brazil – this is the largest ‘carbon sinkhole’ in the world – essentially breathing in carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen. Brazil is meant to develop economically while pre­ serving the environment. Other major emerging countries like China and India also see a necessity in developing sustain­ ably, but they are not asked by industrialized countries to address deforestation so that North America and Europe can continue producing and consuming. Sustainability for all remains the key. As the most biodiverse country in the world, Brazil is making efforts towards greater sustainability. Nearly 90% of Brazil’s electricity supply comes from renewables; 75% of domestic electric supply comes

from hydropower mainly from the Itaipu dam in southern Brazil.

tion as they expand. Not to mention the timber industry.

While renewables are prefer­ able to fossil fuels they also carry contradictions. The proposed Belo Monte dam in northern Brazil would become the third largest in the world, but construction alone would clear over 550 m2 of rain­ forest and would flood 400 km2 of surrounding land.

All these issues in a nutshell help explain the position taken by Brazil in international climate talks that were redirected by U.S. President Obama at the 2009 CoP15, in Denmark, to address deforestation. Brazil has reduced deforestation by 75% over the last decade – now the U.S. should commit.

The carbon emissions from such mega-projects are not negligible. As with all such projects, the ques­ tion is whether or not there is a long-term return for citizens in the form of reduced energy costs and for the environment in increased sustainability. It’s not entirely clear.

These topics will be present at this year’s UN Conference on Sustain­ able Development, Rio+20, com­ memorating the landmark Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, but nothing will be resolved. This event is more about raising aware­ ness and encouraging the spread of sustainability.

Brazil is making headway in other fields of renewables, including vari­ ous offshore wind farm projects that could have great potential to feed­ ing the energy demand of grow­ ing urban centers that are located mostly along the Atlantic coast. The real caveat for Brazil will be how to deal with its booming sugar-based biofuel industry. The rampant cultivation of sugarcane plantations has a domino effect on cattle-ranching and other agricul­ ture that often leads to deforesta­

This supplement offers an overview of the main challenges confronting Brazil in its transition to energy efficiency, while featuring seven artists from São Paulo prior to this year’s biennale and highlighting how in fashion sustainability can also be cool.

Stuart Reigeluth Founding Editor

Editorial | 3

Zebu cattle. Source: Shutterstock


Bem-vindo(a) | 03 Booming Biofuel Industry | 06

All about the biggest business in Brazil and the domino effect on cattle-herding, agriculture, and deforestation.

Free Trade vs. Sustainability ? | 12 The World Trade Organization should apply better standards to free trade.

Going Beyond Biofuels | 13

Weaning Brazil off of biofuels is an imperative for sustainability.

Great Energy Expectations | 16

Over 80% of Brazil’s energy already comes from renewables with more in the pipelines – but bigger is not always better.

Map: Natural Resources & Energy Projects | 18 Coordinator Stuart Reigeluth

assistant editors Jenna Darler Martin Ross Contributors Rejane Cintrão Mark Ekstrom Lubomir Mitev Anouk Pappers Martin Ross Maarten Schäfer Luis Antonio Bittar Venturi

Illustrator InfoGraphics Oldemar Filipa Rosa Graphic Designer Filipa Rosa

Global Amazon Politics | 22

Brazil’s unique position in balancing economic growth with environmental protection revolves largely around the Amazon.

Sponges and the Source of Life | 26

Snapshots of the oldest metazoan group still existing on Earth – aquatic animal species off the coasts of Brazil.

7 São Paulo Artists | 30

Curated by Rejane Cintrão, check out the vibrant works of seven Brazilian artists.

Sustainability is Cool! | 32

A fashion trend gaining momentum for its ecological awareness.

Contents | 5

Booming Biofuels Writer: Martin Ross Martin Ross is Assistant Editor at Revolve.

The Brazilian biofuel business is booming with increasing demand domestically and internationally, but the repercussions of irrigation, agriculture, cattle herding on incremental deforestation are tremendous for global climate change. A more sustainable approach is needed, writes Martin Ross.

Brazilian bio-ethanol production began in the 1930s. Made from processed and distilled sugar, bioethanol is now one of the leading products in the thriving energy sector. Brazil was hit badly by the global oil crisis in the 1970s when it was importing 80% of its oil. To reduce this dependence, national bio-ethanol production grew immensely. The expansion program aimed to reduce pollution, create new jobs, decrease rural poverty and promote industry growth. A majority of Brazil’s cars are now

6 | Biofuels

“flex-fuel vehicles”, which run on petrol, ethanol or a mixture of both. Brazil was overtaken by the United States as the largest biofuel producer, but remains the largest exporter in the world. Demand for biofuels in the northern hemisphere derives from its commitment to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set reduction targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the context of climate change. To meet domestic and international demand, the Brazilian biofuel indus­ try needs to become sustainable.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Biofuels generated from sugarcane have a different carbon balance than those produced from palm oil or corn. As a form of renewable energy, biofuels are carbon neutral or car­ bon negative. Carbon neutrality is when the carbon released during the production, distillery, and distribu­ tion processes is absorbed by new plant growth, creating a “green fuel”. To calculate the carbon footprint of biofuels, the Life Cycle Analysis ( LCA ) technique is used. Using this method, Brazilian bio-ethanol has advantages in terms of CO2 reduc­ tion and energy balances. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report Towards Sustainable Production and Use of Resources: Assessing Biofuels states that compared to petrol Bra­ zilian sugarcane ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 70-100%. Of all biofuels, Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol offers the most favorable GHG balance; providing a potential solution to fulfill the industrialized countries’ commitments within the United Nations Framework Conven­ tion on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Despite some advantages, these biofuels cannot be called “carbon neutral” since sugarcane produc­ tion, particularly fertilizing, releases potent GHGs, namely nitrous oxide ( NO2 ) and methane ( CH4 ). More­ over, sugarcane plantations have led directly and indirectly to mas­ sive deforestation, which affects

the ability to convert greenhouse gases back into oxygen. Deforestation is Brazil’s most pressing environmental issue. The Amazon rainforest is a major storehouse for carbon. When this ‘carbon sink-hole’ is destroyed by logging or burning for crop-field expansion, CO2 is released. Brazil ranks fourth in the world for carbon emissions, contributing around 3% of global GHG emissions. Defores­ tation contributes to 75% of Brazil’s CO2 emissions mainly from the Amazon region, which accounts for 47% of Brazil’s total area. 20% of all carbon emissions around the world result from deforestation. There is no direct relation between the expansion of the sugarcane production and the Amazon defor­ estation. UNICA ( União da Indústria

de Cana-de-Açúcar – Sugarcane Industry Association ) advocates that 90% of sugarcane production for ethanol is harvested in south-cen­ tral and north-eastern Brazil, more than 2,000 kilometers away from the Amazon forest. Only around 0.2% of Brazil’s total production is situated in the Amazon as the region does not offer favorable conditions for sugarcane production.

Land-Use Change However, sugarcane expansion does have a severe indirect effect on deforestation, often referred to as “land-use change” ( LUC ), because of the destruction of other large eco-systems outside the Amazon area, such as the Cerrado region. Whilst little of the Amazon

rainforest will suffer directly from biofuel production, it will be indirectly affected by the displacement of cattle ranching and agriculture. According to the Intergovernmen­ tal Panel on Climate Change, LUC may have an impact on carbon sinks-holes for GHGs, or other properties of the climate system. Cattle ranching is the main cause of deforestation, particularly in the Cerrado region. Known as the “Father of Water”, this biome lies between the Amazon forest, the Atlantic rainforest, the Pantanal and the Caatinga. The Cerrado is the world’s most biodiverse savannah with two-tothree times as much annual defor­ estation as in the Amazon. Due to a high abundance of water, its flat lands and favorable topography,

Recently burnt area east of the road BR 163, near Tau Indian land. Source: Greenpeace / Daniel Beltr

Chapter name | 7

land will be converted elsewhere to replace the growing of food or animal feed with the production of more ethanol. As the U.S. moves towards producing more ethanol from corn, other crops such as soybean and wheat are declining and their prices are increasing. When U.S. agricultural exports decline, other crop-export coun­ tries like Brazil are encouraged to fill the global demand gap. North American farmers are selling one fifth of their corn to ethanol pro­ duction and soybean farmers are switching to corn. Brazilian soy­ bean farmers are expanding into cattle pastures as cattle ranchers move towards the Amazon, caus­ ing more deforestation.

Water Pollution A cattle farm at Estância Bahia.. Source: Greenpeace / Daniel Beltr

The UN has already identified 60 million people (globally) at risk of displacement by biofuels.

8 | Biofuels

the Brazilian government chose this region as the main expansion area for sugarcane plantations; now two-thirds of the Cerrado has been degraded. Land-use change is also affected indirectly by the close relationship between ethanol production in the United States and deforestation around the world. Irrevocably, more

About 2% of global irrigation water is currently used for growing crops to make biofuels. Water is used both for irrigation and during the biofuel production phase in refineries. Cul­ tivating sugarcane is water inten­ sive, and the north-eastern parts of Brazil often suffer from droughts. Sugarcane plantations need to be irrigated as well. Fewer artificial irrigation systems are needed in Brazil since the majority of crops are rain-fed. To produce one liter of bioethanol in Brazil from sugarcane requires 1,150 liters, whereas in India it requires up to 3,500 liters.

The high intensity of water use can also have a direct impact on the quality and quantity of water avail­ able for other uses in the area. There is a link between sugarcane planta­ tion and water pollution, primarily through the use of agro-chemicals and waste water run-off. Pesticides and fertilizers (nitrogen and phos­ phorus) appear to be the main water, soil and aquifer polluters. The Ipojuca River in north-eastern Brazil is directly affected by the sugarcane industry through nitrate leaching and acidification, increased turbidity, and oxygen imbalance. Once these pollutants reach the natural waterways, they contami­ nate everything downstream as well, affecting fishing and drinking water. Legislation has been passed by the Brazilian authorities to reduce water pollution associated with sug­ arcane production.

Fuel vs. Food The “fuel vs. food” debate has been a controversy since the 1980s. The main concern with the expansion of global biofuel production is that land normally used to grow food will now be replaced to grow crops for fuel. Bio­ fuel production can lead to increased hunger in the southern hemisphere as food is being diverted to “feed” the cars in the North. Lesther Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute, claims that “the grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol could feed one person for a year.” Even though 8% of the Brazilian pop­ ulation was undernourished between 2001-03, only 18% of the daily food intake originated from sugar crops. When there is an incentive to pro­ duce sugar crops for bio-ethanol due to growing global demand, the production of other edible crops may

decline resulting in prices increas­ ing. An example was the Mexican “Tortilla Crisis” of 2007, when ris­ ing North American demand for ethanol increased the price of corn that Mexicans depended on as their basic food. The increase in cane production in southeast Brazil dur­ ing the 2005-2006 harvest season reduced the production of tomatoes, peanuts, and oranges in São Paulo and resulted in a decrease of coffee production in Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, and São Paulo. Every 1% rise in the cost of food makes 16 million people food inse­ cure. For the 2 billion poorest people in the world, many of whom spend half or more of their income on food, rising grain prices can quickly become life threatening. The broader risk is that rising food prices could spread hunger and generate political instability in low-income countries.

Recently burnt area east of the road BR 163, near Tau Indian land. Source: Greenpeace / Daniel Beltr

Chapter name | 9

up new land, potentially displac­ ing vulnerable communities whose rights are poorly protected. The Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has warned that 60 million indigenous people (worldwide) may be driven off their lands to make way for biofuels.

Labor Exploitation

Workers at the sugar cane fields of Alagoas. Source: Cícero R. C. Omena

“The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol could feed one person for a year.” Lester Brown

Biofuel Poverty Poor populations simply do not have the economic flexibility to deal with food price fluctuations. There is general consensus amongst biofuel advocates that developing countries, particularly Brazil, will benefit from the expansion of the biofuel industry through job gener­ ation, foreign investment, regional development in depressed areas, new tax and foreign exchange rev­ enues, and the sale of technology. In the 1970s, when Pernambuco State in north-east Brazil was the largest national producer of sug­ arcane, poverty levels were among the highest in the world. Current

10 | Biofuels

practices continue to pose serious threats for the poor rural population. One of Brazil’s most stringent prob­ lems is the issue of land tenure: 1% of the country’s landowners control nearly half of all Brazil’s agricultural land. In the 1970s and 1980s, land tenure conflicts were particularly acute with the expulsion of small farmers from their land by largescale ethanol producers. There are laws to protect small-scale farmers from displacement, but they are often weakly enforced. The problem persists today and lies within the responsibility of large agribusiness expansion. Companies or rich and powerful investors buy

Apart from the high input of water and pesticides, sugarcane produc­ tion also requires intensive labor. The expansion of the sugarcane crops in Brazil provides the rural poor with direct and indirect employment. Towards the end of the 1980s, the ethanol industry was the third largest job creator in Brazil, with approximately 800,000 workers. The sugarcane industry ranks as the second best paid agri­ cultural sector after soybean farm­ ing. The workforce breakdown of the Brazilian biofuel agribusiness is 30% skilled positions, 10% semiskilled and 60% unskilled. One of the problems associated with sugarcane production is the seasonality of the process, under­ mining the possibility for permanent employment as they are only hired during harvest periods, which last for six to seven months per year. Sugarcane production also involves a large amount of migrant workers. In the sugarcane plantations in São Paulo, some 200,000 workers come from different regions of the country, mostly the north-east and from Minas Gerais.

Brazilians employed in the ethanol sector are 60% low-skilled and hired for the manual harvest of sugarcane. Cane cutters face some of the hardest working conditions due to a high workload, lack of pro­ tective equipment, poor health care and an inadequate diet. Workers are paid for the quantity of sugarcane cut. In São Paulo, a cane cutter receives $1.20 for each ton of sugarcane cut and packed. To earn $220 a month, a worker needs to cut an average of 10 tons of sugarcane a day, which means swinging his machete 30 times per minute, for eight hours a day. In the 1980s, a cane cutter would earn about $4.50 a day if he cut close to four tons per day. Now, he needs to cut 15 tons each day to receive $3.50.

These conditions worsened with the introduction of new genetically modi­ fied sugarcane technology, which is higher in sucrose and weighs less. According to Brazil’s Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE), “previously 100m² of sugarcane weighed 10 tons and now it’s necessary to cut 300m² of sugarcane to add up to 10 tons.” Repetitive movement of cane cut­ ting causes tendinitis and spinal column problems, loosening of the joints and spasms, provoked by the excessive loss of potassium. The burning of the sugarcane prior to harvest and pesticide usage can also lead to respiratory illnesses, allergies and even cancer. Slavery and child labor in Brazil­ ian sugarcane plantations affects migrant workers from the north-

east and Minas Gerais. Between the ages of 10 and 17, 23,000 are involved in sugarcane production, comprising 5.5% of the total work­ ers cutting sugarcane and 3% of all workers in the sugarcane and eth­ anol industry. In March 2007, 288 workers were rescued from slavery in six sugar mills in São Paulo.

No “wonder-fuel” exists to make unsustainable ways of life sustainable. The answer lies in the ability to change consumption patterns in the northern hemisphere and not in the expansion of biofuels in Brazil, or elsewhere in the world. The bubble may not burst for the biofuel boom in Brazil, but only if drastic environmental measures are seriously taken into account and enforced effectively will the natural habitat be able to sustain the system.

Workers at the sugar cane fields of Alagoas. Source: Cícero R. C. Omena

Chapter name | 11

Free Trade vs. Sustainability ? Brazil’s biofuel industry was des­ tined initially for domestic usage, but increasing demand in the north­ ern hemisphere to fill vehicles with “green” fuels has motivated tropical and developing countries, such as Brazil, to export their biofuels glob­ ally. Only 10% of biofuels are traded internationally, half of which come from Brazil. The Brazilian govern­ ment and pro-biofuel advocates aim to liberalize industrial biofuels, elimi­ nating barriers to free trade and most importantly, tariffs and subsidies, which favor domestic producers or otherwise ‘distort’ the free market.

There is huge potential for conflict between World Trade Organization (WTO) free trade and environmental protection – trade most often over­ rides preservation. Current WTO regulations do not classify a product according to how it is produced: ethanol is the end-product whether it comes from corn in the United States or from sugar cane in Brazil. Environmental concerns, such as deforestation of the Amazon, and

human rights-related problems, like child labor, are disregarded. If Brazil was to enforce environmen­ tally and socially sound practices, it would likely become vulnerable to challenges from the international trading system, led by the WTO, as these measures would be deemed unnecessary obstacles to trade or more trade-restrictive than neces­ sary. The battle between economics and ecology wages on.

The battle between economics and ecology wages on.

Solutions Mandatory certification To provide social and environ­ mental sustainability, the principle of mandatory certification should include greenhouse gas emis­ sions using the Life Cycle Assess­ ment (LCA) method, protection of labor/human rights, the impacts on biodiversity and water, and the competition with food production. Institutional reform of the WTO WTO regulations need to be in line with modern environmental con­ cerns, such as the ones related

12 | Free Trade vs. Sustainability

to producing biofuels. The WTO should be consistent with Multi­ lateral Environmental Agreements. Conflicting interests need to be rec­ onciled since environmental protec­ tion deserves a similar amount of attention as free trade. Both could be complementary through care­ fully selected policies, as proposed by a variety of actors, including NGOs and environmentalists. Diversification If large-scale Brazilian bio-ethanol production is unsustainable in the

first place, then why opt to expand when there are now alternative renewables available? Instead of subsidizing Brazil’s bio-ethanol industry, government funds and private investments should be spent on developing renewables. This does not mean discarding biofuels altogether because they can be sustainable if they are produced in small-scale farms for local use. Let’s think about better biofuels instead of more biofuels.

Beyond Biofuels:

The Local Dimension Writer: Luis Antonio Bittar Venturi Luis Antonio Bittar Venturi is a specialist in the geography of natural resources and a professor at the University of São Paulo.

Biofuels are much more sustainable in general than fossil fuels for many reasons, but they are neither that sustainable nor are they renewable. The Brazilian experience with ethanol, derived from sugarcane and oil extracted from many species of plants, help clarify the notion of what really is sustainable.

When Biofuels are not Sustainable The ethanol produced in Brazil­ ian sugarcane plantations is not environmentally or socially sustain­ able. Soils are overexploited in a way that depletes their usability for a few decades. Sugarcane is not

renewable since it depends on soil – another non-renewable resource. Burning straw crops of sugarcane plantations after harvesting results in air pollution. In Barra Bonita (São Paulo State), “black snow” fell upon

the inhabitants after the burning of cane plantations. Sugarcane plantations have adverse social effects such as detrimental working conditions as well as other

Shanty town in Manaus Amazonia, Brazil. Source: Shutterstock

Chapter name | 13

health, economical and cultural hazards. Besides the harmful smoke from plantation burning, small farm­ ers are induced to rent or sell their land, or persuaded to produce only sugarcane to maintain ethanol production. Abandoning traditional crops, they lose their way of life and end up living in city slums. Local markets, traditional festivities, social relations, animals and plants are all affected by planting sugarcane.

“Biodiesel” is a fuel produced from vegetable oil. The production process is similar to sugarcane grown on vast territories that are highly mechanized and widely fertilized which is only viable for big investors and compa­ nies. With one of the worst social inequality standards measured by the Gini coefficient in the world, most high income in Brazil comes from highly-concentrated land ownership of natural resource production.

The main difference between sug­ arcane and dendê is that the latter lasts up to 25 years, which is better to avoid soil erosion, while cane is an ephemeral crop. The risks are the same for any monoculture: plagues, diseases of plants (AF - Amar­ elecimento Fatal, or fatal yellowing), decline of native fauna, and the effect these have on the lands along with accelerated deforestation.

Dendê tree came from Africa but is largely well adapted to Brazil’s climate and is used also to regenerate degraded areas.

When Biofuels are Sustainable The IEE–USP (Electro-technique and Energy Institute at the Univer­ sity of São Paulo) has been involved with projects that are considered socially and environmentally sus­ tainable, such as a small-scale cane plantation in southern Brazil. Farmers commit part of their land to cultivate cane, which will be transformed into ethanol by local cooperative distilleries. In this case, they are guaranteed an income by ethanol production and this allows the farmers to keep their traditional crops of corn, bean, manioc and some livestock. Land erosion is reduced, biodiversity is conserved, and a more socially-diverse way of life is preserved. This production is

14 | Beyond Biofuels

economically, socially and environ­ mentally viable. Another IEE-USP project facilitates biofuel production by local commu­ nities. In a very isolated community called Vila Soledade, an 8-hour-boat ride from Moju, a small city in Pará (Amazonian State), the project gen­ erated electricity from machines run­ ning on vegetable oil. The community is surrounded by a huge variety of plants rich in oil, many of which are well-known to locals. All they had to learn was how to choose the plants, collect the oil and pour it into gen­ erators. This project showed great social, cultural, environmental and economical potential advantages.

Culturally, this community could strengthen their relation with the landscape to find the best plants and collect oil from them without damaging nature. This training has resulted in better environmental preservation of the area due to bet­ ter awareness. Other advantages: trees are not cut down and there are no consequences on the air, water, soil and animals. There are two economic dimen­ sions here: many small local busi­ nesses became viable with this kind of electricity production, resulting in rising revenues. People started freezing their food in refrigerators and using electrical appliances in

Worker from the Bahia area carrying Dendê (palm fruit). Source: Otávio Nogueiraa

various small shops. Regionally and nationally, the same way that it is possible to produce ethanol in small lands, we could conceive of “biodiesel” production through familiar agriculture means in the Amazon and other ecosystems. Both sugarcane and biodiesel pro­ duction could be fostered through cooperative actions and policies that deal with local agriculture in the same way as they deal with agribusiness. Some initiatives exist, such as Cooperbio, launched in 2005 by small producers in Rio Grande do Sul State, involving approximately 25,000 families in biodiesel production.

Sustainability is above all a human attitude based on awareness about our surrounding environment.

Combining social and environ­ mental dimensions, the features of natural resources and how fossil fuels or vegetable oils are produced are important to sustainability. Both cases illustrate the possibility to harmonize energy production, which brings national socio-eco­ nomical development, cultural valo­

rization and environmental preser­ vation. The combination of these variants leads to a more suitable way of producing energy, rather than the nature of the resource. Sustainability is above all a human attitude based on awareness of our surrounding environment.

Beyond Biofuels | 15

Growing Appetite for Electricity Writer: Mark Ekstrom Mark Ekstrom is Energy Analyst at Revolve.

Brazil is the world’s tenth largest consumer of electricity and now sits at the top table of users of this most precious commodity. In the past two decades, significant changes have occurred in the Brazilian electricity sector, striving to meet its ever-increasing needs for the 21st century. How is Brazil’s production and consumption of electricity affected by continued economic growth? Will the benefits be felt by all Brazilians?

According to the Energy Research Company (EPE – Empresa de Pesquisa Energética – an entity responsible for long-term plan­ ning in Brazil’s electricity sector), electricity consumption between 2011 and 2021 in Brazil is set to grow 4.5% every year, while

national GDP is predicted to grow at an average rate of 4.7% a year over the same period. Over the next decade, the pressure to deliver will be firmly on the Bra­ zilian government and more than 200 companies that supply elec­ tricity to the nation.

Light for All in Croa. Source: Sérgio Vale / Agência de Notícias do Acre

16 | Chapter name

Over 86 % of Brazil’s electricity supply comes from renewables.

Hydro and Wind on the Rise

Suzlon wind farm in Taíba, north-east Brazil. Source: Otávio Nogueira

Itaipu dam, the second largest in the world after China’s Three Gorges. Source: Nico Kaiser

Where Does it all Come From? Brazil has the third largest elec­ tricity sector in the Americas – behind the United States and Canada. Total installed electric­ ity generation capacity in Brazil stands at more than 113 giga­ watts (113,000 megawatts – MW). Given that electricity imports essentially come from renewable sources, Brazil can claim that nearly 86% of its electricity supply comes from renewables.

According to 2010 statistics provided by EPE, a massive 74% of Brazil’s domestic electricity supply comes from hydropower, owing in large part to installations like the 14,000 MW Itaipu hydroelectric dam. Natural gas comprises some 6.8% of supply, while electricity imports account for 6.5%. Brazil also gets its electricity from biomass (4.7%), oil products (3.6%), nuclear energy (2.7%), coal (1.3%) and wind power (0.4%).

Despite Brazil’s enormous hydro­ power capacity, more projects are on the way, notably the controversial Belo Monte installation on the Xingu River in the northern state of Pará. Once completed, Belo Monte will be the third largest dam in the world after China’s Three Gorges dam and the Brazilian-Paraguayan Itaipu installation. However, it is not just large hydro projects that are under­ way. Brazil’s small-scale hydropower sector is also set to expand: from 3,800 MW of installed capacity to 11,300 MW in 2012. For Brazil’s wind energy sector, it would seem that the only way is up given its relatively tiny share of the country’s electricity generation. Indeed, the industry promises much and business is booming. In the last decade, Brazilian wind capacity increased from 22 MW to around 1,500 MW – due in no small part to Brazil’s Proinfa alternative energy incentive program. In place since 2002, this feed-in tariff program has yielded the most significant growth since 2008. The Brazilian federal government has commissioned the construction of 141 new projects to be delivered between 2012 and 2013 and at an investment of BRL 16 billion (6.6 billion euros). For 2016, the country has more than 7,000 MW in the pipeline, all of which points to very healthy growth in the sector.

Electricity | 17





















Thorny Grassland Tropical Araucaria Subtropical Amazon Savanna seasonal meadows (cerrado) scrub (pampa) rainforest pine forest G U YA N A forest (caatinga)









The planned capacity of BELO MONTE is listed at 11,233 MW which would make it the second-largest hydroelectric dam complex in Brazil and the world's third-largest in installed capacity, behind the Three Gorges Dam in China and the Brazilian-Paraguayan Itaipu Dam



Source: IBGE







North Atlantic Ocean


190 million

High Oil and Mangrove Areas of altitude Natural Gas mixed and dune vegetation vegetation meadows exploration and production





of energy generated in Brazil is from renewable sources




Renewable 2.7%




Natural Gas









Source: Ministerio de Minas e Energia


The ITAIPU HYDROELECTRIC DAM on the Parana River between Brazil and Paraguay cost $27 billion to build in 1984 ($35.93 billion today), which makes it the priciest object on Earth. Only the International Space Station (ISS) has cost more as a single project.




PARAGUAY South Atlantic Ocean









THE LARGEST COMPLEX OF WIND POWER GENERATION IN LATIN AMERICA They are currently The OSORIO WIND 59 wind farms in FARM located in operation the municipality of the throughout the same name in the Brazilian northeast and southern states State of Rio Grande and more than 30 do Sul with 150 MW others are currently of installed capacity. under construction.








Coffee region





Recife 1,536,934


Porto Alegre 1,409,939


Curitiba 1,746,896


Belo Horizonte 2,375,444


Manaus 1,802,525



Fortaleza 2,447,409




Salvador 2,676,606


Brasília 2,562,963




Rio de Janeiro 6,323,03 1

São Paulo 11,244,369

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, Brazil has more than 350 gigawatts of wind energy poten­ tial. Without a doubt, Brazil is Latin America’s most promising wind market because of favorable wind conditions (good wind speed and low turbulence) in the north-east region of the country where the states of Bahia, Ceará, Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Norte could become hubs for a wind energy generation. Moreover, the strategic significance of wind cannot be understated. Its contribution to Brazil’s energy mix will be important as winds are stronger during dry periods (June to December) when production of hydropower tends to fall. As Brazil’s hydropower generating facilities are far from main urban demand areas, there are significant transmission and distribution challenges to over­ come. Much remains to be gained from exponential growth in the wind sector.

Who Gets the Electricity? Over the next decade, the Brazilian government expects the country’s installed electricity capacity to increase by over 63 gigawatts, and it is certain that both industry and residential sectors will take up the lion’s share of consumption. Cur­ rently, the industrial and residential sectors consume, respectively, over 44 and 23% of Brazil’s electricity. Over half of the electricity con­ sumed in Brazil is accounted for by the populous south-east region, due to the significant industrial and residential demand in the São Paulo State and the State of Rio de Janeiro. For the first time however, consumption in the north-east has surpassed consumption in Bra­ zil’s southern regions. Predictably, consumption in the Amazon basin and the country’s center-west and north regions is much lower.

However, in the states of Acre and Rondônia, in the country’s northern region, a great deal of progress has been made incorporating local iso­ lated systems into the national grid, or the National Interconnected Sys­ tem (SIN). As a result, Brazil now has a favorable statistic: 98.4% of the energy consumed across the country is integrated into the SIN (isolated systems still without the SIN are mainly located in the Amazon area).

‘Luz para Todos’ ( ‘Light for All’ ) Brazil has made great strides in recent years connecting the uncon­ nected. Those systems integrated into the SIN are a symbolically important feat and increasing electricity access by millions has become a success story of the early 21st century.

Program ‘Light for All’ brings electricity to families in the comunities by the rivers Tarauacá e Murú. Source: Agência de Notícias do Acre

20 | Chapter name

Source: Agência de Notícias do Acre

Program ‘Light for All’ profits isolated community in Croa. Source: Agência de Notícias do Acre

The “Light for All” program, launched in November 2003 under former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, aimed to bring electricity to two million households that did not have access to a reliable and permanent source of electricity. The initial goal was achieved in 2009 and by September 2011 the program had reached 2.8 million families, representing an esti­ mated 14.2 million people. This rural electrification was achieved through network expan­ sion and distribution of generating systems. It meant that whole com­ munities were connected to reliable electricity supplies. According to research by the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, this even reversed traditional migration flows from rural areas to major cities. An estimated 680,000 people moved back to their home regions by 2011. After compiling responses from a research survey, the Ministry esti­ mated that in 2009 family income

Program ‘Light for All’ profits isolated community in Croa. Source: Agência de Notícias do Acre

grew by 35% due to the addition of electricity to homes, with 90% reporting improvements in living con­ ditions. The “Light for All” program has offered a stark reminder that behind the megawatts and growth projections there is a human element to the consumption of electricity.

enormous appetite for this com­ modity shows no signs of abat­ ing. Over the next decade, indus­ trial, residential and commercial ­sectors will drive demand for electricity, and Brazil will ensure that it remains at the forefront of renewables growth and electricity sector progress.

However one may wish to qualify progress, it is clear that Brazil’s

Electricity | 21

Global Leader Writer: Lubomir Mitev Lubomir Mitev is Climate and Energy Analyst at Revolve.

Brazil hosted the watershed Earth Summit in 1992 – the first global environmental conference with 172 governmental representatives and 2,400 NGOs. Twenty years later, governments and civil society return for Rio+20: the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development from June 20-22 to address very similar issues – only more pressing now for the environment and with new global alignments.

Within climate change politics, developed countries are being challenged by a group of rapidly developing countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC). In 2009 these nations formed a joint action agreement to address issues challenging the status quo to promote the develop­ ing world’s agenda as presented at the 15th UN Conference of the Parties (CoP) in Copenhagen. Together with the United States, the four countries came out with the Copenhagen Accord in the final hour of CoP15. The accord can be viewed as a testament of their growing influence. Although not a legally-binding agreement, it was adopted by all parties the follow­ ing year at the CoP16 in Cancun,

22 | Environment

Mexico. A definite shift away from traditional geo-politics is occurring and the BASIC countries are lead­ ing the way. Brazil’s new allies have effectively brought credibility back to a crumbling negotiation process. Until CoP15 in Copenhagen, Brazil was negotiating alone. The Brazil­ ian Proposal in the 2007 Bali Road Map (adopted at CoP13) suggested sharing the burden of addressing climate change according to dam­ age done in different sectors and not based solely on emissions. This proposal was considered, but not implemented, due to Brazil’s inability at the time to influence more developed countries. The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which take at

Brazil’s program for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is based primarily on diminishing deforestation and increasing sustainable land use.

least 100 years to be reabsorbed by plant-life, makes protection of forests equally as relevant as the reduction of carbon emissions. This relationship is the Brazilian govern­ ment’s main argument in global environmental negotiations. However, there have been dis­ agreements within the BASIC group as well. After CoP15, Brazil criticized the lack of commitment for real change by developed nations. China proposed unbind­ ing unilateral commitments, while South Africa and India expressed disappointment with the lack of results and refused to accept

binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Divisions stems from the differ­ ent socio-economic positions of the four countries. With diverse environmental problems, each concentrates and highlights its own most pressing issues in nego­ tiations. Their common objective, as with many developing coun­ tries, is to grow economically and sustainably now out of necessity without pre-conditions imposed by the developed countries that bear most responsibility for the unchecked increase of carbon emissions historically.

Negotiations between the BASIC countries demonstrate more coherence now. In 2010, they announced additional techno­ logical and financial support for poorer nations from the G77 (the group of 77 developing countries). It was not only an act of aid, but a direct expression of criticism for the lack of assistance by devel­ oped nations. Diversity between Brazil, South Africa, India and China could weaken unity, but the countries are strong representa­ tives of four continents and their benevolence towards develop­ ing countries provides them with widespread support.

Burning pasture in deforested area in the Amazon. Source: Greenpeace / Rodrigo Baleia

Chapter name | 23

Sustainable Policies Brazil is at the avant-garde of sus­ tainable policies in South America. Brazil’s government highlights the fact that social, economic and envi­ ronmental policies have addressed inherent national problems more effectively. At CoP16 in Cancun, the Brazilian Minister of Environ­ ment, Dr. Izabella Teixeira stated: “In the last decade the extreme poverty in the Brazilian popula­ tion was reduced by 70%. In the same period the deforestation rate decreased over 75%”. Brazil has become a leader with long experience on the topic of deforestation and its relationship to climate change. The RED (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation), REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), and REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation plus Conser­ vation) plus Sustainable Forestry Management and Maintenance of Forest Stocks negotiations are largely based on Brazilian propos­ als for addressing these issues. A 2009 report co-authored by the Sustainable Amazon Founda­ tion and the Fórum Brasileiro de Mudanças Climáticas (Brazilian Forum on Climate Change) shows different tactics for both govern­ mental and private sector involve­ ment suggesting that the Brazilian government take a constructive approach to negotiating market compensatory mechanisms for

24 | Environment

REDD at the UN climate change conventions. The G77 supports this position. The official recom­ mendations are to establish bilat­ eral and multilateral partnerships with countries interested in REDD, especially the Brazil regional states of the Amazon. Brazil’s strong position on REDD reinforced commitments by all states to address deforestation as a major topic in climate change negotiations. Brazil has experience with the creation of policy and market mechanisms for the reduc­ tion of deforestation and promo­ tion of sustainable land use and has won widespread support for its proposals. From the Bali Road Map, the Copenhagen Accord, the Cancun Agreement to the most recent Durban Platform, REDD has become the center of discussion on how developing countries can

participate in the struggle against climate change. The program in Brazil for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is based primarily on diminishing defores­ tation and increasing sustainable land use. Several environmental groups have disapproved of the government’s approach since the only available statistics on green­ house gas emissions, pollution, and deforestation are provided by the state; they also claim that there is a lack of transparency with the overall process of official calcula­ tion. NGOs have called repeatedly on the government to decrease this opaqueness and include them in the decision-making process. Green­ peace has expressed a note of opti­ mism since Brazil accepted a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 36% by 2020 and called it “a major step forward”.

Serra do Divisor. Source: Sérgio Vale / Agência de Notícias do Acre

Climate Politics To what extent the proposed actions are realistic depends on government resources and the effective implementation of policy and mechanisms to reduce defor­ estation. At the CoP17 in Durban, Dr. Teixeira stated that “Brazil has been taking a forward position in order to promote the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases and at the same time to develop sustainably.” Developing countries are expected to not pollute like industrialized countries while still developing economically. The expi­ ration of the Kyoto Protocol bind­ ing developed nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2012 signifies the lack of progress made in global negotia­ tions by developed states. Countries at CoP17 were optimistic that a new commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol could be agreed upon and that enhanced action on mitigation and adaptation to climate change, as well as finance, technol­ ogy transfer and capacity-building mechanisms would be strength­ ened. In her statement at the CoP17 High-Level Segment, Dr. Teixeira highlighted all the issues to which her government was ready to con­ tribute in the negotiations:

Adaptation Committee, the Climate Technology Center and Network, the registry of nationally appropri­ ate mitigation actions and interna­ tional support, the work program on response measures, and the Green Climate Fund. The implementation of these institutions will strengthen the international climate change regime, enabling immediate action to tackle climate change. Brazil’s holistic approach to inter­ national environmental nego­ tiations is a clear reflection of its influence in climate change poli­ tics. Its leadership on the issues surrounding deforestation and sustainable land use, as well as the clear example of how these

problems can be ameliorated in combination with poverty, hunger, and economic development make Brazil a dynamic partner to many in the discussions. In order for Brazil to retain and con­ tinue as a strong voice for develop­ ing nations, together with its allies from the BASIC group, it must stay focused on its domestic policies and their effective implementation. This innovative South American state can guide developing and industrialized countries alike by providing a positive example and alternative solutions to alter the politics in order to adapt to climate change more constructively.

Serra do Divisor. Source: Sérgio Vale / Agência de Notícias do Acre

In addition to the establishment of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, we must also operationalize the institutions agreed to in Cancun, including the

Environment | 25


and the Source of Life Sponges (Phylum Porifera) are the oldest metazoan group still existing on Earth. Apart from the commercially bath sponges well known since the Greek civilization, more than 7,000 species are currently described and new ones are regularly discovered They have remarkably survived over Earth’s changing chemical history since the Late Cambrian (509 MYA) in all aquatic environment, from marine intertidal zones to abyssal ones as well as in freshwater.

26 | Sponges

Based on fieldwork in Chile, Argentina, Peru and Brazil, Dr. Philippe Willenz, researcher at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, in Brussels, is part of an international team coordinated by Professor Eduardo Hajdu (Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) that is pursuing an ambitious goal to inventory South American sponges. Here is an exclusive selection of underwater images of sponges to be found off the coast of Brazil.

Sponge research has brought practical answers to fundamental biological questions such as under­ standing the biosynthesis of chemicals and minerals, the evolution of eukaryotic immunology, understanding physiological adaptive strategies to cope with extreme environments or even revealing the functional and phylogenetic complexity of the ‘‘microbial universe’’ associated to sponge tissues. Many of these contemporary studies were based on international multidisciplinary efforts. Brazil­ ian sponges have gained much scientific interest in the last decades due to the large diversity of these aquatic animal species.

The Brazilian school of sponge scientists began 20 years ago in cooperation with France. Today, Rio’s natural history museum stores a collection of more than 15.000 specimens collected around South America. There are several “sponge labs” now in Brazil, including Rio, Salvador de Bahia, and Recife where young scientists regularly embark into varied research areas mainly based on taxonomy.

In the 19th century, Robert Grant coined the term ‘Porifera’ for sponges that were then recognized as an independent metazoan lineage. Increasingly, sponges are studied as part of a broader enterprise attempting to detail the Tree of Life.

Many books and illustrated field guides have come out recently, including the Catalogue of Brazilian Porifera. Due to their anti-infective, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, sponges have also received growing attention from pharmaceutical companies for the development of new natural products.

Sponges grow in distinct shapes and colors. More types can be found in tropical regions, less in colder parts of the world oceans. Sponges are divided into four distinct classes, 25 orders, 128 families and 680 genera. There are several hundred fresh water species.

7SP Seven Artists

From São Paulo

An exhibition curated by Rejane Cintrão


For the past decade, São Paulo has become a thriving economic and cultural hub in Brazil and as such attracts a growing number of Brazilian artists, gallery owners and collectors while also encouraging new platforms dedicated to artistic expression, including the Bien­ nial SP Art Fair. The 7SP exhibition presents seven artists who all work and live in São Paulo: Sandra Cinto, Albano Afonso and Paulo Climach­ auska belong to the 1990s genera­ tion and have participated in some

Rafael Carneiro (b, 1985) untitled, 2012. Oil on canvas, 170x300cm

30 | ART

of the most important exhibitions presented in Brazil in recent years, including the Biennial de São Paulo and Panorama da Arte Brasileira. Ana Elisa Egreja, Rodrigo Bivar and Rafael Carneiro belong to a younger generation of painters who have re-introduced figurative painting to the local art scene and are expe­ riencing huge success in Brazil at the moment. Wagner Malta Tavares belongs to the 1990s generation but started working in the art field recently through art installations. This project proposes three in-situ creations by Sandra Cinto, Albano Afonso and Paulo Climachauska, as well as a selection of the most recent works by some of the artists from the new painting generation and a video installation. All seven artists share an international point of view produced with a Brazilian flavor. They all reflect the concerns of Brazilians today, including the future of the country’s natural beau­ ties and the uncertainty of the future in a country full of contradictions. Where do we come from? What are

Albano Afonso (b. 1964) Paradise, 2011, september belo horizonte, 2012. Four perforated photographs on aluminum paper and wallpaper. 230X125cm each

Wagner Malta Tavares (b. 1964). Uma Diverçao Um Tormento Uma Ocupaçao, 2005. Video 10’

Paulo Climachauska (b. 1962) Hear My Train a Com In, 2012. China ink and acrylic on canvas, 280 x 200 cm

Sandra Cinto (b. 1968) The Wave, 2012. Acrylic and permanent pen on canvas, 180x250cm

we doing? Where are we going? These are common questions around the world, but the difference is that these artists are raising them in a country considered emergent with a bright future ahead.

From April 21 - June 16 CAB Art Center 32-34 Rue Borrens, B-1050 Belgium

ART | 31


Making Sustainability Cool Writers: Maarten Schäfer and Anouk Pappers

Brand anthropologist Anouk Pappers and storyteller Maarten Schäfer meet Brazil’s visionary fashion designer Oskar Metsavaht and get a glimpse behind-the-scenes of his design studio about Brazil’s African roots, fish skin and the inspiring Rio lifestyle.

32 | Fashion

This article is part of the CoolBrands book Around the World in 80 Brands (July 2012) by Maarten and Anouk as they travel from country to country connecting stories and discovering brands.

As soon as we arrive in Oskar Metsavaht’s atelier, we are caught up in a flurry of models, make-up artists and stylists who are getting ready for a fitting session of the new Osklen collection. In the main studio, racks of clothing are lined up along the walls and studio lighting has been set up in front of a makeshift catwalk. Several Osklen staff members are sitting on the floor surrounded by sketchbooks, cameras and laptops. Leaning back in a black direc­ tor’s chair at the far end of the room, Oskar Metsavaht is critically sizing up a slender black model in a dark-green voile dress. His fash­ ion coordinator Juliana Suassana walks over to the model and pulls up the skirt. “It needs to be shorter at the back,” she says just as Oskar notices us standing by the door. “Come in, come in!” he beckons. “Welcome! We’re just starting!” We join Oskar and Juliana and watch as the next model heads down the runway in a long blackand-gold dress with a low back. At our previous meeting on Arpoador Beach, Oskar told us

about his vision of Brazil as a global role model for sustainability. He sees it as his personal mission to make sustainability cool, and to make the sustainable lifestyle something that people want to be a part of. Oskar gets up and goes over to the model in the middle of the room. He gently tugs at the dress to expose more of the girl’s back, while Juliana pins the material down into this new shape. “I find women’s backs very sensual,” Oskar says as he turns to us with a smile. He takes a step back and considers the adjustments before sending the model off to the photo shoot in the next room. “Let me show you how we work,” he says and leads us to a table in the corner where a series of design sketches and photos are laid out. “These are the design sketches for the new collection. Every time one of these outfits has been fitted, we send the model over to the photo studio and we replace the sketch with a photo. And by the end of the day, we have a collection!”

For more about Oskar Metsavaht, visit

Fashion | 33

Capturing wind “I don’t know how you do it,” says Anouk, leafing through a photo portfolio of previous collections. “Where do you get your inspiration? It must be such a challenge to every time develop a new concept that fits within your broader vision.” Oskar lowers his voice as if he’s about to let us in on a secret: “Osklen draws its inspiration from the Rio way of life – a balance between the simplicity of nature and urban sophis­ tication. I get inspiration from many sources: a natural phenomenon, a personal experience… oceans, the Amazon, wind, rain…” “For instance, the first idea for the Vento collection came during a party on a Rio rooftop where I was observing the wind play­ ing with people’s clothes. I started thinking about it:

34 | Fashion

wind has no color or form, so how do you design clothes on the theme of wind?” “It seems that with every collec­ tion you are taking your designs and the message they carry to a higher level,” Anouk says. “I guess that’s true,” Oskar says pensively. “The further I explore

the theme of sustainability, the more I have come to realize that it is not just about ecology and nature, but that there are strong cultural and historical elements as well. For years, I have wanted to explore the theme of Brazil’s cultural heritage, but I never found the right spark to make it happen.” Anouk smiles with an air of disbelief: “It sounds

more like a theme for a PhD thesis than for a fashion collection. How are you going to translate such a complex topic into design?” Oskar laughs. “Actually I already have – it’s the collection you see here,” he says pointing at the photos and sketches on the table. “As you may know, 2011 was the UN Year of African Roots, which led me to explore the connection between Africa and Brazil,” he says.

“Brazilian culture has strong African influences: in music, in dance – even in our local religion, Candomble.” “And this is the result,” he says with a smile as he looks at the models preparing themselves, “the Royal Black collection.” A tall blonde girl struts through the ate­ lier wearing large sunglasses and a short orange overall. Oskar goes over and walks around the model with a thoughtful air.

e-Fabric “By the way, this is an e-Fabric,” says Oskar. I get out my camera to take a close-up shot of the shiny texture. “What is it made of exactly?” I ask. “E-Fabric is actually not just the material itself, it is a broader con­ cept that covers all aspects of the sourcing and production process. It looks at everything: who we buy the raw material from; how we interact with those communities; and the environmental impact of tanning processes, it’s one whole.” “And fish skin?” I ask. “I heard you use that in your designs – what is that like?” Oskar points at the orange overall. “This is it!” He explains that in the food industry fish skins are usually thrown away, despite the fact that they are perfectly usable as a leather substitute. “Fish

leather appears soft and thin, but it is often more resistant and sturdy than bovine leather. Because social awareness is an important part of the Osklen brand, we source our fish leather from indigenous tribes in the Amazon basin, thus allowing local communities to maintain their traditional lifestyle.” Oskar shifts his attention back to the catwalk, while we sit back and watch the Osklen team at work. The Royal Black collection is coming together right in front of our eyes: simple, clean lines and natural tones – grays, beiges and whites – combined with black and gold. The last model makes her way down the catwalk, showing off a light cotton pantsuit. She strikes a pose and gives us a cool look through her large sunglasses. We get the message: sustainability can be cool!

Fashion | 35

Brazil Report 2012  

A special 36-page country report on sustainability in Brazil. From the booming business of biofuels to sponge aquamarine life to climate pol...

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