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How to access a bash environment variable from within R in emacs-ess

In my .bashrc, I have the line:

export SETTINGS=/home/user/settings.xml

If I load R in bash, I can access this variable using the Sys.getenv function:

Sys.getenv("SETTINGS")
"/home/user/settings.xml"

If I open up R in Emacs (M-x R), SETTINGS is empty:

Sys.getenv("SETTINGS")
""

What I have tried:

  1. adding the following to .emacs, based on How do I make Emacs recognize bash environment variables for compilation?

    ;; get environment vars from .bashrc
    (let ((path (shell-command-to-string ". ~/.bashrc; echo -n $SETTINGS")))
      (setenv "SETTINGS" path))
  2. opening up bash in emacs using M-x term

    echo $SETTINGS         # works
    R
    Sys.getenv("SETTINGS") #works
  3. If I open emacs from the terminal, the SETTINGS variable is available as expected. Opening emacs from the Applications menu (with either the command /usr/bin/emacs23 %F or emacs) does not work.

  4. comparing output from session("env") when loading R in bash vs emacs, but nothing stands out other than (bash = <, emacs = >):

    > INSIDE_EMACS=23.3.1,comint
    6d5
    < SETTINGS=/home/user/settings.xml
    9c8
    < SHLVL=1
    > SHLVL=0
    14a14
    > PAGER=cat
    16d15
    < PAGER=/usr/bin/pager
    19d17
    < COLORTERM=gnome-terminal
    25c23
    < WINDOWID=14680069
    > DESKTOP_AUTOSTART_ID=1020ce948b944a88113395253627645060000001863000
    < TERM=xterm
    > TERM=dumb

Can I either

  1. access SETTINGS from within R in emacs-ess
  2. export SETTINGS somewhere that I can access it?