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Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro celebrate his election victory. Photo: Buda Mendes via Getty Images

Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right candidate whose misogyny, racism and reverence for military dictators has made him one of Latin America's most polarizing figures, won Brazil's presidency yesterday with over 55% of the vote.

Why it matters: Brazil is already an important oil producer at roughly 3 million barrels per day, and has been auctioning offshore tracts thought to contain huge hydrocarbon resources to some of the world's largest energy companies.

  • And the Amazon also makes Brazil vital to the world's climate and biodiversity.

What's next: One oil executive told S&P Global Platts recently that "Bolsonaro represents the current, favorable status quo although there could be some hiccups."

  • They note that a policy plan he floated early this month backed "reinforced expectations Bolsonaro would likely continue reform efforts that lured investment from heavyweights such as BP, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total."
  • Yes, but: Their piece and others note the he could install a military general atop state-energy giant Petrobras who would favor a heavier state grip on hydrocarbons.

On the environment, this Washington Post analysis points out that while he's backed away from plans to abandon the Paris climate deal, "that doesn’t mean Bolsonaro has suddenly become the Lorax."

  • "Bolsonaro is a powerful supporter of agribusiness — one of the pillars of his political platform — and is likely to favor profits over preservation."
  • "He has called for a new, pro-business approach to exploiting Brazil’s natural resources, insisting that overzealous bureaucrats have harassed farmers for simply trying to make a living by carving out patches of jungle."

The views of Paulo Guedes, the University of Chicago-trained economist advising Bolsonaro, were examined in a Reuters piece:

  • "Guedes is keen to privatize an array of state enterprises, including units of oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and power utility Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (Eletrobras)."
  • "However, his free-market ideas have clashed with the views of the retired army generals who are helping Bolsonaro flesh out his government program."

Go deeper

Inside Biden's Taiwan flubs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twice this year, President Biden has blurted out commitments that the U.S. is prepared to defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion — forcing the White House to walk back his statements and leading to confusion over a high-stakes national security policy.

Why it matters: U.S. defense officials have publicly aired their concerns that China will take Taiwan by force in the next four to six years, perhaps sooner. The president's position on this question may soon have real-world, life and death consequences.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.