Brazil: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Brazil Protest

In today’s class lecture we discussed Brazil’s progress towards mitigating climate change. Brazil has made an enormous effort in reducing tropical deforestation, Brazil has kept 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere since 2004″ (Atkin, 2014). Brazil once had the highest deforestation rate in the world mainly due to livestock and logging. Rainforests are an important carbon sink, however deforestation emits large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thus changing the climate. Although Brazil’s 70 percent decline in deforestation has helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions, other parts of Brazil are still feeling the effects of climate change. Sao Paulo is suffering from one of the worst droughts to have hit Southern Brazil in several decades. The water scarcity is causing violent conflicts between residents. As the climate continues to change, and droughts become more prevalent we can expect to see more violent conflicts and citizens protesting for access to resources like water, which are necessary for survival. Rainy seasons in Brazil have shown a pattern of less rainfall each year, “The Sao Paulo metropolitan area ended its last rainy season in February with just a third of the usual rain total only 9 inches” (Gomez-Licon, 2014). The government is being blamed for the issues of water scarcity, which shows that as the climate keeps changing and water becomes more limited there must be systems implemented for distributing water equally. Otherwise the world’s poor will be exposed to more vulnerabilities, and violent conflicts will increase. 


Atkin, Emily. “Brazil Has Done More To Stop Climate Change Than Any Other Country, Study Finds.” ThinkProgress. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <>.

Gomez Licon, Adriana. “Sao Paulo Drought Leaves Brazil’s Biggest City Desperate For Water.” The Huffington Post., 07 Nov. 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <>.


Future of violent conflict

Security Studies since the early 90’s have been looking at the connection between the environment and violent conflicts.  Looking back we can see a history of violent conflicts in certain countries, many of which of LDC (Least Developed countries).  The security community has come to agreement that environment factors are rarely causes of conflict but rather catalysts and drivers. But what about the future? There is now a new field of study beginning, climate change and violent conflict.  A new review of 55 research papers shows that there is an increase in violent conflict related to climate change.  The National Bureau of Economic Research conducted this review and has a working paper that is also saying that these two factors are linked.  Although most people can agree that with a changing climate may cause stress on certain systems that we need to survive, and will there fore cause some sort of violent reaction.  However what is really interesting is that environment issues as drivers and catalysts change in these predictions of climate change caused violent conflict.  This new form of conflict would be the cause, driver, and catalyst of violence. In past conflicts, environmental stresses help to exacerbate conflict, but do not usually act as the core reason.  However, if climate threats increase enough they will become the sole cause of conflict.  If there is simply not enough water for everyone, there will be conflict.  Furthermore this shifts the priorities of the Security community, placing climate change threats as the top.  If there is not enough water for people to survive it doesn’t really matter what the economic or political climate is.