Science

Technology. In Brazil, Elon Musk travels to the Amazon and meets Bolsonaro.

Elon Musk’s new project. The American multibillionaire announced this Friday in Brazil the launch of an “environmental monitoring” program for the Amazon and the improvement of its Internet access. “I am thrilled to be in Brazil to launch Starlink to 19,000 unconnected schools in rural areas and to monitor the environment in the Amazon,” the world’s richest man, owner of space company SpaceX and automaker Tesla, tweeted.

In November, the Brazilian government announced talks with SpaceX to deploy satellite internet in the Amazon rainforest and help detect illegal logging.

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 survives,” said the leader, widely criticized around the world for the sharp increase in deforestation under his mandate. “This is the first contact, the beginning of a romantic relationship, I am sure that they will soon lead to marriage,” he added during a press conference in which Elon Musk did not participate.

During a meeting at a luxury hotel near Sao Paulo (southeast), the President of Brazil presented the multi-billionaire with a medal of the Order of Defense Merit.

“Front Speech”

“For Bolsonaro, this meeting is positive,” Oliver Stuenkel, professor of international relations at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), told AFP. “But this is more of a façade speech, experts believe that the problem of deforestation is not a lack of control, the Brazilian system is very complex. The problem arises from the lack of control by state representatives, who practically do not impose fines. »

According to a study by the NGO team Mapbiomas, Bolsonaro’s government’s environmental authorities intervened only after the satellites of the current monitoring system detected less than 3% of deforestation warnings. The current monitoring system from the Inpe Space Research Institute reported deforestation warnings over 1,012 km2 in April, the equivalent of nearly 140,000 football fields, a record for this month of the month.

“The Inpe system is one of the most advanced systems in the world, an example of rainforest monitoring,” says Marcio Astrini, head of the Climate Observatory, another environmental NGO group. “What Bolsonaro says doesn’t make sense. He says foreign interests are vying for Amazon, but he wants to forego supervision of a Brazilian institution and rely on a foreign multimillionaire,” he adds.

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