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A "Time" e o "mito da energia limpa"

Ricardo Lombardi

28 de março de 2008 | 08h21

A capa da Time que chega às bancas hoje joga lenha na discussão sobre o uso do etanol como fonte alternativa de combustível. “O Mito da Energia Limpa” é o título estampado na capa. A chamada é a seguinte: “Politicians and Big Business are pushing biofuels like corn-based ethanol as alternatives to oil. All they’re really doing is driving up food prices and making global warming worse — and you’re paying for it.” O Brasil, claro, não podia deixar de ser um personagem chave da reportagem. Está logo na abertura do texto de Michael Grunwald, nos três primeiro parágrafos (valeria repercutir):

From his Cessna a mile above the southern Amazon, John Carter looks down on the destruction of the world’s greatest ecological jewel. He watches men converting rain forest into cattle pastures and soybean fields with bulldozers and chains. He sees fires wiping out such gigantic swaths of jungle that scientists now debate the “savannization” of the Amazon. Brazil just announced that deforestation is on track to double this year; Carter, a Texas cowboy with all the subtlety of a chainsaw, says it’s going to get worse fast. “It gives me goose bumps,” says Carter, who founded a nonprofit to promote sustainable ranching on the Amazon frontier. “It’s like witnessing a rape.” (grifo meu)

The Amazon was the chic eco-cause of the 1990s, revered as an incomparable storehouse of biodiversity. It’s been overshadowed lately by global warming, but the Amazon rain forest happens also to be an incomparable storehouse of carbon, the very carbon that heats up the planet when it’s released into the atmosphere. Brazil now ranks fourth in the world in carbon emissions, and most of its emissions come from deforestation. Carter is not a man who gets easily spooked–he led a reconnaissance unit in Desert Storm, and I watched him grab a small anaconda
with his bare hands in Brazil–but he can sound downright panicky about the future of the forest. “You can’t protect it. There’s too much money to be made tearing it down,” he says. “Out here on the frontier, you really see the market at work.”

This land rush is being accelerated by an unlikely source: biofuels. An explosion in demand for farm-grown fuels has raised global crop prices to record highs, which is spurring a dramatic expansion of Brazilian agriculture, which is invading the Amazon at an increasingly alarming rate.

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