Despite Protests Against Amazon Fire, Brazil's Deforestation Has Reached 12 Year High

03 Décembre, 2020, 11:51 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Amazon deforestation races to 12-year high under Bolsonaro

Brazil, on the other hand, has laid down in law that from 2020 deforestation may not exceed 3900 square kilometers annually, much less than the area now measured.

But some officials said the fact that the rate of increase was lower than that recorded a year ago was a sign of progress. The law has no consequences for missing that objective, but it can be used in lawsuits by environmental organizations against the government.

These dates were chosen to coincide with the Amazon's dry season, when there is less cloud cover to interfere with the images.

Forests such as the Amazon play a vital role in controlling climate change because they suck carbon from the atmosphere.

"Because of such deforestation, Brazil is probably the only major greenhouse gas emitter that managed to increase its emissions in the year the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed the global economy", said the Brazilian Climate Observatory, a coalition of environmental groups.

At Inpe's headquarters Monday, Vice President Hamilton Mourao, who chairs the Amazon Council, said the Armed Forces' employment in fighting deforestation started "late".

Bolsonaro has weakened the environmental enforcement agency Ibama and called for introducing more commercial farming and mining in the Amazon region, arguing it will lift the region out of poverty. Environmentalist believe that the Brazilian president's stance has encouraged illegal miners to destroy the forest.

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"The PRODES figures show that Bolsonaro's plan worked".

Mr Mourao said the Government was planning further measures to combat deforestation after the end of the military operation, without giving details.

The figures released by Inpe are preliminary, with the official statistics set to be released early next year. He said the government must work within its now tight budget constraints. European leaders, including French President Macron, strongly criticized the Bolsonaro government for not doing enough to protect the forest.

The election of Mr Joe Biden as United States president has raised the possibility that the U.S. will ramp up pressure on Brazil over the rainforest.

Mr Biden said in a debate that the world should offer Brazil money to fund efforts to stop deforestation, and threatened economic consequences against the Latin American nation if it did not. The comment drew fierce criticism from Bolsonaro, who said it was a threat against Brazil's sovereignty.

"Let's remember that the future president knows our country", Mr Mourao said on Monday, speaking about Mr Biden.

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