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In Brazil, Agribusiness Lobby and Far-Right Politicians Sow Climate Disinformation

Nacla - October 11, 2023



Over the course of two months, Agência Pública worked with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro’s Laboratory of Internet and Social Media Studies (NetLab/UFRJ) to analyze promoted posts on Meta social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as YouTube videos and other content published on social media platforms, news websites, and other web pages. The aim of the study was to track down who was behind the spreading of climate denialism and environmental disinformation in Brazil.


The investigation traced the disinformation back to three primary sources: Ricardo Felício, a professor of geography and the University of São Paulo; Luiz Carlos Molion, a meteorologist and a former lecturer at the Federal University of Alagoas; and Evaristo Miranda, an agronomist who recently retired from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), a body affiliated with the country’s agriculture ministry, and who became the environmental guru of former president Jair Bolsonaro.


On top of being invited to give talks by a range of agribusiness associations, these individuals have also been given platforms on digital channels linked to the industry and the Brazilian far right. Miranda and Felício, for example, work as columnists and are often quoted as sources in reports for Revista Oeste, a conservative-oriented magazine founded in March 2020 that describes itself as “the first content platform 100 percent committed to the defense of capitalism and the free market.” The publication’s team is made up of a host of journalists who dedicated themselves to defending Bolsonaro’s administration over the course of his term in office.


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