Sunday, December 4, 2011

Belo Monte is our business

Here we go for another political post. This time I am going to raise a topic that is on the news at the moment in Brazil and surely you can find a lot of information out there. You will need to be lucky in order to find good information in English as most of it is in Portuguese, though, as this is clearly a Brazilian business. Many information is also unrealiable, so my advice is to research as much as you can.

Sociologically, historically and economically speaking, my country is a bit complicated. Sociologically, because although we are on the top 10 of the largest economies in the list of countries with most billionaires in the world we are also among the most socially unequal in the planet. Historically, because we are a nation that has a mixing of cultures including the native indigenous people (0.3% of the total population).

The current discussion is on the proposed hydroelectric dam called Belo Monte. On one side we have some environmentalists against the dam claiming that the environmental impact is huge. On the other side we have some specialists and the government stating that the dam is necessary and the benefits will be huge. Also, the project was rewritten many times and now it is smaller than the first one.

The porposal of this post is to inform whoever feels like need more information about it. I've read texts from both sides: green party, specialists including physicists, cientists, historians and politicians. I've also debated with people like me or like you that are interested in politics or just curious about it. I am still learning with it but it seems that the more I read, the more arguments I have for defending the project.

One thing that pisses me off is to see someone like J. Cameron, director of Avatar and many other blockbusters, going to Brazil to protest with the indigenous against the dam. What does this guy know about Brazil and its necessities? I guess he has much more to concern about his own country which is the second nation on top ten emmiters of GHGs (

Let me explain this better. There is a video that became viral last month from the main tv channel in Brazil. This video shows some of the Brazilian famous artists explaining why they are against the dam. They obviouslly don't know nothing or very few about it. We can see some discrepancies on what they say. They say that the indigenous people will be affected. Well, I guess the 300 to 500 indigenous(numbers vary depending on the sources) that lives in those areas won't have any problems specially because the dam is going to be at 1300km from the Xingu river! This is going to be a renewable and clean source of energy. In other words, all the water that goes through the dam comes out the same way. And the water keeps going on and on and on...

So, let's see the numbers:

- The Belo Monte dam will be also the second largest in Brazil and the third largest in the world.
- The generated energy can be up to 11.000 MW and it will be enough to bring eletricity to over 20 million people! That is 10% of the Brazilian population. Besides that this project is being discussed for over 3 decades and it didn't happen before because the government just simply couldn't afford it.
- The Amazon forest area is 5.500.000 km2, the area of the current Belo Monte dam project is 516km2 or 0,01% of the total of the Amazon area! By the way, this project was reduced in size along the years mostly to reduce the impact to its minimal damage possible

Brazil does have a big problem with energy distribution and such a project will benefit millions of people directly and indirectly.

This is a topic that I would like to share with you my dear reader and ask you to participate, regardless if you are against or in favour. My question is: what other alternative would we have? We all know that solar and wind power are fine for small countries like Ireland, but when it comes to a population like Brazil, it turns out that it is economically and geographically not a good idea. Even Patrick Moore, one of the early members of Greenpeace supports the hydroelectrics.

The references below are all in Portuguese. Note that I include all types of arguments: in favour and against so you can judge them by yourself.

a fail attempt of "Avatar 2" that j. cameron was trying to do:! (the controversial video by Globo TV artists)


Luiza B. said...

Muito bacana você fazer esse post em inglês.Eu sou a favor da construção de Belo Monte,de uma forma ou de outra precisamos gerar energia,então,que seja da forma mais limpa possível.Pessoal falando de energia eólica,energia solar,não faz a mínima idéia do custo e da tecnologia necessária pra isso.ainda teve maluco falando de energia nuclear,vê se eu guento?Haha!
Como você disse,acho desnecessário tanta gente sem conhecimento nenhum ficar dando pitaco.
Fora o tanto que essa usina vai beneficiar aquela região.Aquela região é terra sem lei,poquíssimo desenvolvida,imagina o tanto que vai melhorar a vida de muitas pessoas que moram ali.
Não sou expert em política,nem algo do tipo,mas sabendo filtrar as informações que chegam,qualquer um vai perceber que Belo Monte vai ser uma coisa boa.Essas celebritates me irritam falando do que não sabem,fala sério!

Antonio Proenca said...

É Luiza, pior do que os ambientalistas são aqueles que dizem que a obra é puro interesse político e que só serve pra encher a mão dos empresários de $. Daí eu pergunto, e existe obra que seja sem interesse político? Afinal se a gente ficar suspeitando de tudo aí é que nao sai obra nenhuma. Eu tenho escrito em ingles pra dar chance aos leitores de fora do Brasil de acompanharem meu blog, inclui aí amigos, família, etc...It is challenging sometimes porque eu tenho que pesquisar certas palavras que eu nao to familiarizado. Take care ;-)