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In a report published this month, The World in 2050, the world’s largest accountancy multinational, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), predicts that Brazil will have the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2050. The report believes that its economy will rank behind – and well behind – China, the USA and India but, perhaps surprisingly, that it will be larger than either Japan’s or Russia’s.
This is further confirmation that Brazil is finally turning into the world economic superpower that it has long wished to become. Yet one of Brazil’s best known journalists, Clóvis Rossi, chose in his analysis of the report for the Folha de S. Paulo, not to write a smug piece about Brazil finally “fulfilling its destiny”, but rather to discuss the report’s sober recognition that the world could well be heading for calamitous climate change.
Rossi quotes this section of the report:
“As our analysis shows, a ‘business as usual’ approach based on our GDP growth projections could see global warming of 6˚C or more in the long run, while the UN’s 2˚C objective seems increasingly out of reach given the lack of progress on decarbonisation since 2000 … This is a pessimistic scenario but could put the world on the path to catastrophic climate change by the end of the century.”
As Rossi points out, PWC is not the only pillar of the establishment to be making such dire predictions. He also quotes Global Risks 2013, a report published by the World Economic Forum. “Like a super-storm, two major systems are on a collision course,” the report says. The interplay “between the stresses on the economic and environmental systems will present unprecedented challenges to global and national resilience.”
“The world is more at risk as persistent economic weakness saps our ability to tackle environmental challenges,” the report continued. “With the growing cost of events like Superstorm Sandy, huge threats to island nations and coastal communities, and no resolution to greenhouse gas emissions, the writing is on the wall,” Axel Lehmann, chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance Group, is quoted as saying. “It is time to act.”
Clóvis Rossi is one of a group of influential journalists and analysts in Brazil who are paying more and more attention to global warming, spurred on perhaps by the disastrous climate change that appears to be affecting the country.
But while the Brazilian media seem finally to be waking up to the gravity of the challenge, the British media seem increasingly bored by the whole issue.
This week, for instance, The Guardian gave only a passing mention, in an article on page 28, to a study published by the UK’s largest oil company, BP (formerly known as British Petroleum), which predicts that if business continues as normal, carbon dioxide emissions will increase by more than a quarter by 2030 – something that would spell disaster for the world.
The prediction may not be new, but surely it is significant because it has been made by a giant oil company that is contributing to the problem?
So perhaps, as Brazil turns into a global economic force, it is also starting to face the global responsibilities that its new status demands. And as the UK’s economic might continues to decline (PWC expects the UK economy to have slipped to number 11 by 2050), the concerns of its media are becoming correspondingly more parochial.