Op-Ed13 June

Of discontent, the World Cup, and elections in Brazil

Will the 2014 World Cup in Brazil be the stage for a surge of protest movements as most, particularly the government fear? Nobody can tell for sure. The June 2013 mass protests that created a climate of stress at the Confederations’Cup and led to a downwards trend on presidential popularity were unprecedented and unpredicted. This spontaneous outbreak of discontent, often amplified through mobile communications and social networks, elude the explanations sociologists and political scientists have for mass rallies, riots and other forms of public demonstrations of dissatisfaction all over the world. More »

Article06 December

Hamba Kahle

Photo from the Nelson Mandela Foundation

Photo from the Nelson Mandela Foundation

Sergio Abranches

He fought an oppressive, violent, and illegitimate regime. He wouldn’t comply with laws that were unacceptable, because they promoted institutionalized racism and segregation. He got a life sentence based on those laws, and spent 27 years in jail. The apartheid regime and the tyrannical political system that supported it were defeated by the persistent resistance of the majority he inspired. When he was elected to be South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela has chosen to be democratic and communitarian on the best tradition of his Xhosa people. He refused to be vindictive and resentful, as so many others have been in similar circumstances. He was incomparable. The Xhosa tradition is based on Ubuntu that says that sharing and relating with others is the core of our humanness. An isiXhosa saying Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu means that the person becomes a person through other persons. Our fulcrum is our humanness which is realized only through other humans. More »

Treks27 September

The IPCC summary for policymakers is out. What now?

Sérgio Abranches

The release of IPCC’s Summary Report for Policymakers today has ended speculations that animated the social media over the last few weeks, but has not eliminated controversies. A full view of the scientists’ take on the scientific state of the art on the physics of climate change will have to wait for the final draft of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report due on 30 September. More »

Treks15 August

China on the path to become a green technology power

Sérgio Abranches

China is braced to become a green technology powerhouse even before it transitions towards a green economy. Although having to manage a huge carbon stock, after relying mainly in coal and oil to fuel its economy for many decades, China has become the world’s major investor in clean energy. More »

Treks02 August

Climate and conflict may be causally related

Sergio Abranches

US scientists report a remarkable convergence of results from rigorous quantitative studies showing that climactic changes are strongly correlated with a rise in interpersonal violence (assaults, rapes and murders), as well as group conflicts and war. More »

Treks16 July

China boosts solar-electricity

China has raised its 2015 target for solar-electricity capacity, helping its solar panels companies, many of which are struggling due to industry overcapacity, falling prices, slow global demand and trade disputes with Europe and the United States. More »