Technologies. In Brazil, Elon Musk commits to the Amazon and meets Bolsonaro

New project for Elon Musk. The American multi-billionaire announced this Friday in Brazil the launch of an “environmental monitoring” program for the Amazon and improvement of its internet access. “I’m super excited to be in Brazil for the launch of Starlink for 19,000 unconnected schools in rural areas and for environmental monitoring in the Amazon,” tweeted the richest man in the world, owner of the space company SpaceX and automaker Tesla.

In November, the Brazilian government announced negotiations for SpaceX to deploy satellite internet over the Amazon rainforest and help detect illegal deforestation.

Meeting with Bolsonaro

Elon Musk also met with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. “We must show the world the truth about the Amazon, this region so coveted by other countries. And by showing this truth, we will show that the Amazon is preserved,” said the leader, widely criticized around the world for the sharp rise in deforestation under his mandate. “It’s a first contact, the beginning of a romantic relationship, I’m sure it will soon lead to marriage,” he added during a press conference to which Elon Musk did not. participated.

During the meeting, in a luxury hotel near Sao Paulo (southeast), the Brazilian president presented the multi-billionaire with the medal of the Order of Merit for Defense.

“Front speech”

“For Bolsonaro, this meeting is positive,” Oliver Stuenkel, professor of international relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), told AFP. “But it’s mostly a facade speech, specialists believe that the problem of deforestation is not the lack of monitoring, the Brazilian system is very sophisticated. The problem comes from the lack of controls” on the part of State agents, who inflict practically no penalties. »

According to a study by the NGO collective Mapbiomas, the environmental protection bodies of the Bolsonaro government only intervened after less than 3% of the deforestation alerts detected by the satellites of the monitoring system currently in force. The current monitoring system, from the Inpe Space Research Institute, reported deforestation alerts over 1,012 km2 in April, the equivalent of nearly 140,000 football pitches, a record for this month of the month. year.

“The Inpe system is one of the most modern in the world, an example for the monitoring of the tropical forest”, assures Marcio Astrini, head of the Climate Observatory, another collective of NGOs for the defense of the environment. environment. “What Bolsonaro is saying makes no sense. He says that the Amazon is coveted by foreign interests, but he wants to dispense with the surveillance of a Brazilian institute and rely on a foreign multimillionaire,” he adds.

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