Is Poverty the Environment’s Enemy? São Paulo Gov. Weighs In

President Trump wrapped up his visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland today, where the focus this year is on climate change. From the White House to Australia to Brazil, leaders still aren’t taking measurable action — even as their countries face catastrophic weather events. João Doria, governor of São Paulo, Brazil, joins the program from Davos to discuss this pressing issue.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Do you find that you’re in collision course with your President who we know what he said about the environment? And also he’s called Greta Thunberg, the activist, you know, a brat. Do you divorce yourself from that part of the President’s agenda?

DORIA: Well, I prefer to not comment about that. We are in different ways, but understand, sometimes, the position of President Bolsonaro, but we have others and we keep ours.

AMANPOUR: All right. Well, how do you — I want to play actually something your own Economy Minister has said about the reason for a lot of environmental degradation in the Amazon rainforest. Let’s just say a little bit about what he said there at Davos.


PAULO GUEDES, BRAZILIAN ECONOMY MINISTER: The worst enemy of the environment is poverty. People destroy environment because they need to eat. They have other concerns, which are not the concerns of the people who already destroyed their forests. They already fought their ethnic minorities and all these things. So it’s a very complex problem. It has no simple solution.


AMANPOUR: So Governor Doria, you know, do you agree with that? And to an extent a lot of world leaders say, listen, wait until we get to X, Y, or Z level of development and then we’ll deal with our environment. Do you agree that it’s poverty that leads to the, you know, abuses in the Amazon forest, and what can be done to change that?

DORIA: Well, first to have respect over the forest, to have respect of the environment and we have respect over the public opinion in Brazil and outside Brazil.

DORIA: Sometimes, we have no — we don’t go on the same way in this subject in Brazil. But in my position as Governor of Sao Paulo, I have to keep my mind strictly in Sao Paulo State. Sao Paulo State, as you know, is the largest economy in Brazil. We are responsible for 33, almost 34 percent of the Brazilian economy. We grew 2.6 percent last year, Brazil one percent. So our government is focused on our mission in Sao Paulo, including the protection over the forest, over the Atlantic Forest and the principles and the agreements that we follow as Paris Agreement.

About This Episode EXPAND

Danny Weiss and Jonathan Burks offer their perspectives on the Senate impeachment trial. João Doria, governor of São Paulo, Brazil, joins the program from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to discuss the climate crisis. Poet Reginald Dwayne Betts tells Michel Martin how he discovered the power of words while incarcerated.