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Letter from the editor | 130

Less discussion, more action

The debate about global warming, caused by gases emission, is now being heard in tones that are louder and louder since the conference of Rio-92. On that occasion there was a giant  gathering with delegations from 175 countries to discuss and propose solutions to the questions of climate change and biodiversity. From there to here, these meeting have been happening on a smaller scale, but with an importance that is greater and greater. The increase in temperature registered over the planet during the last few decades is no longer attributed to the delirious imagination of radical environmentalists. Now one can say that the vision of a hotter world caused by the greenhouse effect is sovereign among specialists.

The last round of discussions and negotiations among countries about this theme took place in Nairobi, Kenya, last month. Over the 14 years since the Rio-92 meeting, one can note an important change: the situation has moved from debate to something concrete. The countries present at this meeting approved the creation of a fund to finance the adaptation of more vulnerable countries to the effects of climate charge. This was an important step to help the African and Pacific nations that will have their economic activities highly hurt over the next few decades. This was one of the reasons that led such a red-hot theme to the cover of Pesquisa FAPESP, polished and written with vigor by Claudia Izique and Fabrício Marques.

The other reason is the research directed towards this area, which is becoming more and more important with each year that passes. To this end, Brazil is still going along slowly, behind other Latin American countries. But the country is conscious of what needs to be corrected. Proof of this were the first regional climate models developed by researchers from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The previous estimates were made based on global models. Our science editor Carlos Fioravanti shows that the INPE forecast is more precise and reinforces with unprecedented details the design of a less humid and tropical but warmer and drier Brazil.

Over the last three years, the sociologist Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro ha also had his attention drawn towards all of the world. The coordinator of the Center for Studies of Violence of the University of São Paulo (NEV/USP), one of the ten Research, Innovation and Diffusion Centers (CEPIDs) supported by FAPESP, was given the task by the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, of preparing a worldwide report about violence against children. The result, a 384-page book, is a masterly study that involved nearly 180 people who worked directly on research, and, in total around 1,500 individuals, from all continents, who had some responsibility for passing on information to him. It is important to say that Pinheiro was not merely the project’s coordinator, but did a lot more than this: he went out into the field and listened personally to the stories of children during more than 50 journeys all over the world.. One can underline FAPESP’s participation, in such a valuable document: if it had not been for the Foundation’s support for the Center for Studies of Violence perhaps it would not exist today and Pinheiro would not have been associated to the UN project. The clarifying interview with the sociologist and his gigantic task was masterfully carried out by our editorial director, Mariluce Moura.

Masterful can also be applied to the development of the Brazilian electronic ballot boxes. In this year’s presidential elections, the result of the participation of almost 102 million electors came out in two and a half hours after the closure of the last polling stations. In the 2008 municipal elections there will be more new ideas. The ballot boxes will have a digital marker, a biometric reading devise that allows for the automatic recognition of the elector by way of their fingerprints. The objective is to guarantee even greater security in identification. Our assistant editor Dinorah Ereno explains how we have arrived at this model of success that is continually renovating itself in search of improvements.

And finally, our humanities editor Carlos Haag brings to the surface the opinion of specialists about the dilemmas of Brazilian economic growth, which originate a long way back in time. It is worthwhile getting to know the root causes of the problem.