Brazil: Elon Musk wants to fight deforestation and connect the Amazon

Brazil: Elon Musk wants to fight deforestation and connect the Amazon

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The billionaire’s company, SpaceX, will deploy satellite internet over the Amazon rainforest, which will also help detect illegal deforestation.

The American billionaire Elon Musk announced Friday in Brazil the launch of a program of “environmental monitoringof the Amazon and improving their internet access, just before a meeting with President Jair Bolsonaro. “I am super excited to be in Brazil for the launch of Starlink for 19,000 unconnected schools in rural areas and for environmental monitoring of the Amazon.tweeted the world’s richest man, owner of the space company SpaceX and the carmaker Tesla.

In November, the Brazilian government announced negotiations for SpaceX to deploy satellite Internet in the Amazon rainforest and help detect illegal deforestation. The meeting between the Brazilian president and the billionaire took place in the morning at a luxurious hotel in Porto Feliz, about 100 km from Sao Paulo. “As we are going to connect the Amazon, we have brought (to Brazil) one of the greatest business leaders in the world to help us in this mission.“, declared on Twitter the Minister of Communications of Brazil, Fabio Faria, an illustrated message with two photos of him with Elon Musk, in the hotel in question.

The journalists present kept a distance from the establishment, surrounded by an important security device, said an AFP team, who saw President Bolsonaro quickly get out of the car upon arrival to greet the security forces before entering the hotel. . On Thursday night, he announced that he was going to have a character meeting.”private“in Sao Paulo”with a very important person known throughout the world“. This person “He comes to offer his help for our Amazon“, the president had specified in his weekly direct on social networks.

Fight against deforestation

The Amazon is a hot topic in Brazil and in that country’s relations with the international community. Deforestation has risen sharply under the Bolsonaro government, accused of promoting impunity for gold miners, farmers or timber traffickers who illegally deforest the rainforest.

For Bolsonaro, this meeting is positive, because they are supposed to discuss improving surveillance of the Amazon.Oliver Stuenkel, professor of international relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, told AFP. “But it is above all a facade speech, the specialists believe that the problem of deforestation is not the lack of monitoring, the Brazilian system is very sophisticated. The problem lies in the lack of intervention of environmental control agents“, he adds.

According to a study by the Mapbiomas NGO collective, the environmental protection bodies of the Bolsonaro government intervened after less than 3% of the deforestation alerts detected by the satellites of the monitoring system currently in force.

Twitter takeover

Elon Musk became a hero of the Bolsonario clan when he announced his intention to buy Twitter last month, promising less restrictive moderation in the name of freedom of expression. Very active on social media, Jair Bolsonaro has seen several of his posts deleted, including on Twitter, due to disinformation.

O Globo indicated that the meeting would be held with the presence of two ministers, Mr. Faria and Defense Minister Paulo Sergio Nogueira, as well as 13 business leaders, including the heads of the country’s main telecommunications companies.

SpaceX launched a second shipment of about 50 Starlink servicing satellites in mid-February to provide Internet connection to customers around the world. Starlink enables residents of areas underserved by fixed and mobile networks to access high-speed Internet, through thousands of small satellites. Elon Musk is in charge of a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at 230 billion dollars. He recently announced his intention to buy the social network Twitter for $44 billion, before suspending this project by making it conditional on obtaining data on the proportion of fake accounts.

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