Yes, We Are Doomed

In a week of extremes, the country wastes the chance to discuss the climate crisis

Wednesday's (27) lowest temperature was almost Thursday's highest one in São Paulo's thermometers; sea lions were photographed on a flooded sidewalk in Rio Grande do Sul; Over a hundred pink dolphins died in rivers without oxygen in the historic drought ravaging the Amazon. The climate apocalypse has materialized in the country, as in almost all parts of the world, in the year of the endless summer, the one that has yet to reach the tropics but is already terrifying.

In less than 24 hours, Folha published two service reports on air conditioning, how to buy it, how to install it, and how to save on its use. None of them considered that the consequent increase in energy consumption feeds the cycle that ultimately heats the planet and compromises its natural pace. Today's refreshment is what turns on tomorrow's furnace.

The Governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Eduardo Leite, met with Lula to ask for help for his flood-ravaged state with the weather forecast in hand. The newspaper's title, however, highlighted Janja, which is much more of a topic than the southern misfortune.

Yes, Folha talks about the crisis in good articles: 40% of Brazilian capitals had the hottest winter in history; The total number of people affected by rain in 2022 is the highest in ten years. However, the issue is the synapse, to bring the problem closer to the readers. It is not possible to write that the capital of São Paulo has had five consecutive days of record temperatures and that the problem is "an atmospheric blockage caused by the persistence of a high atmospheric pressure system over a large area for several consecutive days". In addition to the repetition of terms, the bigger picture, the reasons, and, why not, the doubts about so many extremes are missing.

It would also be good to bring those who are accountable for the problem into the discussion. Two weeks ago, the global head of JBS was interviewed at an event hosted by The New York Times in New York. The climate newsletter from the American daily (does Folha or any other major Brazilian press have a climate newsletter?) narrated the meeting with a series of data that the executive obviously disputes: emissions higher than those of a country like Italy, targeted by activists who want to prevent the company from reaching the American Stock Exchange, a recommendation from the local Conar to stop promising in advertising pieces that it will reach "net zero", zero net emissions, by 2040. A search for JBS in recent texts in Folha reveals another planet: the company is responsible for 2% of Brazilian GDP, says Fipe.

"Brazilian Minister says that oil and green ambitions are not contradictory", wrote the Financial Times on Wednesday (27), in an article that was not very favorable to the Lula government. On the same day, the question for Alexandre Silveira (Brazilian Minister of Mines and Energy) over here is whether or not we will have daylight saving time.

One last example. Folha reported that the agribusiness section in Congress was pressuring the government to release rural insurance in the face of so many catastrophes (they not only put pressure on it but also obstructed the Chamber's agenda until the funds were released). Did anyone question the bloc about the greater frequency of crop failures and the obvious relationship with the climate crisis, so contested by the sector?

No, it's not a topic, it doesn't get an audience and, as a reader who has given up on Folha said, the truth is that we're all doomed because no one is going to turn off the air conditioning, stop eating steak, using the tractor or seeking royalties. Although inglorious, it is the media's task to present an indigestible account of the joke. This past week was a huge missed opportunity. As things are going, there will be no lack of others in the future.


Reinaldo Azevedo has left Folha. Or, in fact, he was dismissed. "It's not for lack of readers, we all know that", said the journalist in the last paragraph of his last column. "It is not uncommon for there to be changes among the heads who write for Folha", stated the Editorial Department in a message to readers who complained about the change. "As he stated in his last column, there was a decision to stop writing a column for the newspaper, where he stayed for almost ten years and contributed to the pluralism of the Projeto Folha. He continues to collaborate on UOL, the portal of the same business groups."

For those with better memory, it is curious to write that Reinaldo's departure contributes to the publicized perception of the "rightening" of Folha, a process that would have accelerated with the advent of a new PT government.

Last year, the Ombudsman's column criticized the newspaper's initiative to create an ideological metric to classify parties. Something similar is now happening with a political orientation self-test offered in the series The Future of the Left (the most read thing in the package so far, but condemned by some readers). The Manichaeism emulated from social networks is repeated. Take the test using the opinions given by Folha in its editorials as a guide. It says a lot about the test and, of course, about the paper.

José Henrique Mariante

Engineer and journalist, he was a reporter, correspondent, editor, and editorial secretary at Folha, where he has worked since 1991. He is the ombudsman

Translated by Cassy Dias