This research is based on a broad-scale literature review, qualitative interviews with officials, local communities, and experts, and ethnographic observations of local communities in the State of Para. The literature review encompassed the fields of climate science, social sciences, energy studies, and sustainability science in order to capture the multiple, intersecting factors affecting the political economy of energy development. Twenty-nine interviews were conducted in person, over the phone, or on Skype from summer 2015 through winter 2016. Interviews were either taped and transcribed, or in-depth notes were taken, depending on the comfort of the interviewee. Interview subjects were selected through a snowball sample approach, starting with experts, officials, and local non-governmental organization representatives who work on related issues. Ethnographic observations were made of local communities and their interactions with state representatives in the State of Para near the site of the Belo Monte dam. This included the observation of a licensing hearing for the dam, local protests, and newly constructed resettlement communities in the City of Altamira.

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