Oil exploration in the Amazon could accelerate the climate crisis

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Raisa Araújo – From Cenarium Magazine

BELÉM (PA) – The Greenpeace sailboat Witness was in Belém, last week, as part of the Costa Amazônica Viva expedition. The objective of the visit was to carry out scientific research, evaluating the potential impacts of oil exploration in the Brazilian Equatorial Margin region, a fossil frontier that covers the mouth of the Amazon River, close to Ilha do Marajó, in Pará.

Measuring 22 meters in length, the sailboat Witness is a Greenpeace vessel ideal for supporting research at sea and in coastal areas. The vessel features advanced technology, including solar panels and wind turbines, making it ideal for investigations both in the open sea and in coastal areas.

For social educommunicator Tayna Silva, who had the opportunity to visit the sailboat in Belém, thinking about Foz do Amazonas through intersectional and participatory perspectives, involving communities, communicators and those curious about the subject, is a fundamental piece in defense of the living Amazon.

Social educommunicator Tayna Silva (Reproduction/Personal archive)

“It was amazing. I felt inspired to think more about our communities and their greatness. It was like learning about an important part of our history. In moments like this, of crises and little hope, learning more about the Costa Amazônica VIVA Expedition gave me the strength to continue on this great journey for social and climate justice”, commented, Tayna.

The Foz do Amazonas basin, which covers a large part of the coastal zone of Pará, has more than 200 oil reserve blocks, which are under analysis by the oil industry.

Marcelo Laterman Lima, coordinator of the Ocean Front at Greenpeace Brazil, highlighted that, despite the prominence of block 59, which is undergoing a more advanced licensing process by Petrobras and is being widely discussed in terms of licenses by Ibama and in the public sphere , there is no consensus, nor is there sufficient data to predict, for example, the paths that eventual oil spills and leaks could take.

“The need to produce more in-depth scientific knowledge in relation to currents, the dynamics of currents in the Foz do Amazonas Basin, comes from a demand from the scientific class itself, from academia, which received the oil dispersion modeling presented with great skepticism. by oil companies, in this case the exploration of the Foz do Amazonas Basin. Without having this basis, any mitigation action and any possibility of exploration become ineffective, as we do not know the actual potential risks for the region’s coastal territories.”commented Marcelo.

The Costa Amazônica Viva Expedition started in Belém do Pará and traveled through the marine zones, a region where oil reserve blocks are being offered, or have already been granted to the oil industry, in the Foz do Amazonas Basin. After this first phase, the sailboat returned, went to the limit of French Guiana, in the Lapoque region (PA), then returned to Belém.

Sailboat Witness (Enrico Marone/Greenpeace)

For Tayna, who works directly in the peripheries and traditional communities of the Amazon, creating community technologies for the defense and protection of territory, rivers, forests, cultures and communities through communication, actions like these are fundamental as they help us think about collective tools for protection and preservation of the territory.

“I believe that the arrival of the sailboat to the North of the map is part of this movement; expanding views, research and traditional knowledge about territories, through honest and horizontal research on local biodiversity”concluded.

Amapá Basin where block 59 is located

In May 2023, the president of Ibama, Rodrigo Agostinho (PSB-SP), refused to grant the license for oil exploration in the Foz do Amazonas region. Following the recommendation of the agency’s technical team, which had already expressed its opposition to the licensing of Block 59,

In addition to rejecting the license, Ibama also requested that the Equatorial Margin be the subject of an Environmental Assessment of Sedimentary Area (AAAS), a series of studies designed to assess the risks of oil activity to the ecosystem and determine the environmental viability of exploration in that area. area. To date, Ibama has still been developing studies and does not have a defined deadline to complete the evaluation, which has been going on since May of last year.

Read more: Petrobras intensifies lobbying to explore oil on the equatorial margin
Edited by: Adrisa de Góes

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Oil exploration Amazon accelerate climate crisis

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