RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This week the news is full of the usual suspects, not any less important, but it marks the key issues and topics that Brazil and Rio face. For the second week in a row our front page story is about the Amazon, deforestation making way for behemoth agribusiness, and a recent spree of assassinations drawing government intervention. We also returned to cover important Oil business developments, keeping an eye on the growth of Petrobras and all the support and service businesses involved. And of course there is the Olympics.
The Amazon is a world resource, on Brazilian soil. The government here does not cede ownership or control to the international tree-hugger community (aka environmentalists/survivalist), why would they? With over 50 percent of the country covered in this rain-forest, does anyone think the U.S. or China would hesitate to “make way for progress”?
Yet no two carbon foot-prints are alike, and Brazil has set itself above the rest in clean energy programs. While so much remains contested, the hydroelectric dam, ethanol production, natural gas vehicles and … recent crash and burn sector, nuclear energy, it is hard to know what solution is net positive progress.
Although who can argue with the new “wave energy” program (maybe marine biologists)? Dolphin-huggers.
Oil remains the dominant energy source, and it just so happens Brazil is sitting perhaps the largest reserve discovered in recent times. It unfortunately sit thousands of meters under the sea and rock-bed, but that means we get to build new toys to pump it out.
People in the oil business don’t like to talk too much about it, the industry is so big, so powerful, that is brushes politics aside like flies. Brazil has done a better job then most at protecting it’s resources from the carnivores of progress. Anecdotally it’s been explained to me how less powerful and stable countries in Africa get chewed up and spat out for the quick money.
Brazil may be hungry also, but it’s paying attention to how the money comes in and out of the country. Selfishly I pray they can focus on keeping the beaches clean, those offshore rigs have a way of distracting the ocean horizon… and keep a good percentage of the oil proceeds in Rio of course.
And the Olympic Games in 2016, which is a highpoint to ascend (after the 2014 World Cup) is perhaps the main force behind the wave of energy driving the makeover of Rio. The entire world will be here in Brazil for the World Cup, although many cities are hosting games, Rio has the honor of hosting the finals. The Olympic Games will be all in Rio, and for these years Brazil will invest in progress.
That progress comes at a cost though, people will be moved, lives will be changed, inefficiencies and corruption will unavoidable. What seems obvious though is it’s all in the direction of progress, and even 50 percent of effective progress is better then none.
My sense is that the biggest risk to Brazil’s credit-fueled success is keeping the wild inflation and real estate boom accessible to the lower economic rungs, not just in the hands of the high paid executives.
All the usual suspects that we love to follow and talk about.
Oh, a new issue, the June Print edition also came out over the weekend, hope you like it.
June Print Edition (email us for a low resolution PDF version)