Daily Review: Brazil Floods Highlight the Challenges of Climate Action

Daily Review: Brazil Floods Highlight the Challenges of Climate Action
People wade through an area flooded by heavy rains in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, May 6, 2024 (AP photo by Carlos Macedo).

Rio Grande do Sul, a state in the south of Brazil, is experiencing the worst flooding the country has seen in 80 years, the result of heavy rains last week. The floods have left 20,000 people homeless, 115,000 people displaced and more than half a million people without drinking water. Authorities say the conditions are unlikely to improve for several weeks. (Washington Post & AP)

Our Take

Much like in the rest of the world, Brazil has grappled in recent years with increasingly frequent and intense extreme climate events as a result of climate change. The trend highlights the challenges presented by climate action on both a micro and macro level.

On the micro level, Brazil has struggled to enact measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change that can withstand the shifting winds of politics. In the early 21st century, the country was considered a leader on climate policy, but former President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, undid much of the progress that gave Brazil that credibility. Most notably, he weakened environmental protections, fueling a nearly 60 percent increase in deforestation in the country.

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