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Brazil’s government is more than just Bolsonaro. While the president is usually the one under the spotlight, lesser known ministers and high-ranking officials also contribute their share.

During the next weeks we will profile some of the main figures of the Bolsonaro government focusing on their environmental views. We start today with Ernesto Araújo, a man whose absurd ideas would be laughable if they didn’t come from one of the most powerful persons in Brazil.


A bizarre worldview

Ernesto Araújo is Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was born in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, and is currently 52 years old. Before joining the government, he worked as a diplomat for almost three decades. While he never led at any embassy, he held different posts in Belgium, Germany, Canada and the USA. He has also been quite productive while representing Brazil, and written three novels and a poetry book. He keeps a personal blog called Metapolitica 17.

Araújo holds an interesting worldview which stems from his concern about globalism. In his own words, globalism is the “economic globalization that is now being steered by cultural marxism” – whatever that means. 

To Araújo, globalism and the globalist forces are trying to shift “economic power from the West towards the Chinese regime”, especially through climate change. Through what Araujo calls climatism, or “the ideology of climate change”, he argues that governments are attempting to control their citizens, limit personal freedom and accumulate power.

‘I don’t believe in global warming’

Araújo has spoken out against global warming on several occasions, before and after becoming a member of Bolsonaro’s government. The last controversy around this topic happened just a few days ago. According to magazine Época, Araújo said: 

“I don’t believe in global warming. See, I went to Rome in May and there was a huge cold wave. This shows how global warming theories are wrong,”during a cabinet meeting. A couple of days later, in a blog post, Araújo denied having said those exact words, but confirmed he agreed with their general meaning. To support his view, he cited well-known (and debunked) arguments. 

These included:

  1. Cherry-picking observations that appear to be at odds with global warming.
  2. Arguing that computer models are unable to predict climate change.
  3. Dismissing as inaccurate temperature measurements made before 1979, before satellite measurements were implemented.

Photo: Senado Federal

Paris Agreement

Despite his strong views against climate science, Araújo has repeatedly said that Brazil will not leave the Paris Agreement. In the same blog post mentioned above he writes:

“The Agreement is there and like any other agreement it must be complied with in good faith (pacta sunt servanda) [Latin for “agreements must be kept”]”.

At first sight, this may seem a bit incoherent. Why would Araujo want to keep Brazil in an agreement that is based on facts he doesn’t believe in? Why would he collaborate with the globalist project that wants to destroy Western civilization? 

It is likely that Araujo’s reluctance to withdraw Brazil from the Paris agreement has more to do with a political strategy than  a genuine belief that the agreement is good for the country – or the planet. 

If Brazil were to step out from the agreement, the move would compromise the country’s international image. Commercial deals, such as the recent EU-Mercosur agreement, could be placed in jeopardy. In fact, France’s President Emannuel Macron has explicitly said he will not sign the deal if Brazil pulls out of the Paris Agreement

Brazilian products could then face the risk of being boycotted. And International programs such as the Amazon Fund, whereby countries such as Norway and Germany reward Brazil’s efforts to halt deforestation with millions of dollars, could be shut down.

China and agribusiness

Araújo’s ‘old-man-rants’ on China and the globalist conspiracy was arguably one of the reasons why he was invited to be part of the government. After all, Araújo was appointed by Olavo de Carvalho, a far-right guru with strong influence over the Bolsonaros, after Carvalho read one of his texts about globalism. 

But an anti-Chinese rhetoric does not appeal to everyone. China is arguably Brazil’s most important commercial partner. The Asian powerhouse spends billions of dollars on Brazilian soybean, beef, pulp and sugar. These exports are critical for Brazil’s GDP and the agribusiness sector, especially amidst a backdrop of recent economic hardships . Clearly, some are worried that Araujo’s anti-Chinese rhetoric could affect these sales.

Tracking Brazil

Araújo has made a lot of other controversial statements, such as that nazism was a left-wing movement or that the left has an ’anti-natalist’ project to keep people from being born. But unfortunately we’ve ran out of space.

Next week we’ll be back with a new profile. In the meantime, if you enjoyed reading this, you may be interested in subscribing to Tracking Brazil, our weekly newsletter on Brazil’s  environmental issues.

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