Pension funds' role in Brazil's farmland controversy

Global pension funds are implicated in the deforestation of Brazil's Cerrado, impacting local communities and climate goals.

Sarah Sax and Maurício Angelo report for Grist.

In short:

  • Armed men, allegedly hired by land claimants, have forcibly displaced local communities in Brazil's Cerrado, destroying homes and livelihoods.
  • Major global pension funds, including TIAA, have invested billions in Brazilian farmland, contributing to deforestation and land conflicts.
  • The destruction of the Cerrado, a key carbon sink and biodiversity hotspot, poses significant challenges to Brazil's climate commitments and local ecosystems.

Key quote:

“There’s a lot of evidence that investors who buy land in Latin America, for instance, but also in Southeast Asia, are responsible for deforestation — directly or indirectly.”

— Lucas Seghezzo, professor of environmental sociology at the National University of Salta

Why this matters:

As forests are cut down to make way for farmland, the world loses more than just trees; it loses an essential ally against global warming. In regions like the Amazon, the conversion of forest into cropland or pasture is particularly striking. This transformation not only contributes to climate change but also disrupts biodiversity, water cycles and local climates.

Joe Roman: We need to change how we relate to wildlife, putting their health, and our own, before commercial interests.

Biden's Arctic policy curbs drilling
Credit: JLS Photography - Alaska/Flickr

Biden's Arctic policy curbs drilling and blocks road construction

President Biden curtails fossil fuel extraction in Alaska, aiming to preserve the region's pristine habitats.

Maxine Joselow reports for The Washington Post.

Keep reading...Show less
Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
Keep reading...Show less
Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Credit: Florida Sea Grant/Flickr

The lasting impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill on marine life

A recent expedition to the Gulf of Mexico has revealed ongoing environmental damage from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, showing little signs of recovery for the marine ecosystem.

Xander Peters reports for Hakai Magazine.

Keep reading...Show less

California’s low-income housing climate initiative faces budget cuts

California’s plan to reduce building emissions through the Equitable Building Decarbonization Program may see a significant budget reduction.

Aaron Cantú reports for Capital & Main.

Keep reading...Show less

New rule prioritizes conservation on US public lands

A new rule introduced by the Biden administration aims to balance conservation with economic activities on America's public lands, enhancing protections and sustainable use.

Catrin Einhorn reports for The New York Times.

Keep reading...Show less

Global climate impacts are set to drastically reduce average income levels by 2050

A new study reveals that by 2050, global incomes will decrease by almost 20% on average due to severe climate impacts, which will cost significantly more than proactive measures to limit temperature rises.

Jonathan Watts reports for The Guardian.

Keep reading...Show less
diminishing natural soundscapes biodiversity loss
Credit: VectorMine/BigStock Photo ID: 444259331

Silence of the natural world signals a biodiversity crisis

Studies reveal that natural soundscapes are diminishing due to loss of species and ecosystem degradation.

Phoebe Weston reports for The Guardian.

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
New EPA regulations mean a closer eye on the nation’s petrochemical hub

New EPA regulations mean a closer eye on the nation’s petrochemical hub

Houston’s fenceline communities welcome stricter federal rules on chemical plant emissions but worry about state compliance.

plastic composting

Bioplastics create a composting conundrum

Biodegradable food packaging is a step in the right direction, experts say, but when composted carries risks of microplastic and chemical contamination.

plastic treaty

Groups push Biden administration to take leadership role at upcoming plastic treaty talks

The US has taken a “middle of the road position” so far, environmental groups say.

chemical recycling Youngstown

Listen: Why communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia are fighting chemical recycling plants

EHN reporter Kristina Marusic discusses her new three-part series on the controversies surrounding chemical recycling.

chemical recycling

Latest chemical recycling plant closing spurs concern over the industry’s viability

Oregon’s Regenyx plant announced its closing in late February, with those involved calling it a success, despite never reaching planned capacity and millions of dollars lost.

plastic treaty

Everything you need to know for the fourth round of global plastic pollution treaty talks

Countries will meet this month in Ottawa to move forward on the historic treaty — but obstacles remain.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.