Brazil’s newly appointed foreign minister believes climate change was made up as part of an anti-Christian conspiracy by “cultural Marxists.”
The country’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro chose Ernesto Araújo, an anti-LGBTQ extremist who thinks gay people want to criminalize heterosexual intercourse, to serve as top diplomat. That’s disturbing enough, but he also literally believes climate change was made up to promote Chinese growth and hinder Western economies.
It’s not just empty rhetoric, either. This is a huge deal, especially because Brazil has been important in the global discussions involving climate change and greenhouse gases. The country’s diplomats have even worked on the Paris agreement.
In his blog, Araújo states his goal is to “help Brazil and the world liberate themselves from globalist ideology”, which he sees as anti-Christian.
The 51-year-old diplomat — who has never served as an overseas ambassador — claims unnamed leftist politicians have hijacked environmentalism to serve as a tool for global domination.
“This dogma has been used to justify increasing the regulatory power of states over the economy and the power of international institutions on the nation states and their populations, as well as to stifle economic growth in democratic capitalist countries and to promote the growth of China,” he wrote in a post last month.
In another, he claimed the centre-left Workers party in Brazil was “criminalising sex and reproduction, saying that all heterosexual intercourse is rape and every baby is a risk to the planet as it will increase carbon emissions”. He then went on to accuse the party of criminalising red meat, oil, air conditioners and Disney movies.
But all of that could change with Araújo’s appointment.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, there’s a reason for that. He is part of a far-right wave that has been mimicking Donald Trump and sweeping offices in Brazil.
The incendiary rhetoric echoes that of Bolsonaro, who won last month’s presidential election with about 57.7m votes. The former army captain has since moved to put in place one of the world’s most far-right administrations and promised to align Brazil more closely to Trump and the US.
Climate negotiation experts said the appointment was sad for Brazil and the world — though they held out hope that the new foreign minister will be more pragmatic when he comes to represent his country.
“Brazil has played a very significant role for the Paris agreement. It would be really bad for the country’s image if he brings with him his ideology,” said Carlos Rittl, the executive secretary of the Brazilian Climate Observatory.
Even as we see blue waves in the U.S. — largely in response to the damage caused by right-wing politicians — it’s important to remember that the Trump effect is reverberating throughout the world. In Brazil, a far-right administration is copying Trump’s talking points, his ridiculous false statements, and his unflinching desire to attack perceived enemies. The sad thing is that they’re winning. Until other nations learn the same lessons that the U.S. and the U.K. have learned the hard way, this is bound to get worse before it ever gets better.