Official data shows that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has reached its greatest level in over 15 years.
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Deforestation reaches peak in Brazil
Deforestation has grown by 22% in one year, according to a report by Brazil’s space research agency (INPE). During the COP26 climate summit, Brazil was one of several countries that pledged to cease and reverse deforestation by 2030.
The Amazon rainforest is home to around three million plant and animal species. It further sustains one million indigenous people. It also serves as a critical carbon sink, slowing the rate of global warming. According to the most recent data, Amazon lost 13,235 square kilometres of forest cover (5110 square miles) between 2020 and 2021- the largest amount lost since 2006.
The data offers a “challenge”, according to Environment Minister Joaquim Leite. He also added, “We have to be more strong in respect to these offences”. He went on to say that the statistics “doesn’t fully reflect the circumstances in recent months”.
Bolsonaro and Deforestation
Under President Jair Bolsonaro, Amazon deforestation has escalated. The Brazilian president has promoted agriculture and mining in the Amazon rainforest in the past.
He has also argued with INPE over deforestation, accusing the agency of damaging Brazil’s image in 2019.
Brazil at COP26 Climate Summit
During the Glasgow climate summit in November, Brazil signed a key agreement to cease and reverse the practice of deforestation in its territory.
Public and private funds totalled over £14 billion ($19.2 billion) in the promise made by several major nations at the summit. Some of the money will go to poor countries to help with land restoration, wildfire suppression, and indigenous community support. Many studies have already discovered close ties between Amazon deforestation and worldwide supply chains.
A Greenpeace analysis found linkages between the region’s widespread deforestation and food sold in British stores and restaurants last year. According to the report, some major brands were found buying meat from a UK supplier with production linkages in the Amazon. This supplier, trading with Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Nando’s, and McDonald’s, sold meat from cattle fed soy grass grown on farms established in deforested areas.
Jair Bolsonaro, who was on a tour in Dubai this week, warned investors that assaults on Brazil over deforestation were “unfair”.
“We want people to know the real Brazil,” he stated, noting that 90% of the forest is still intact. These new numbers, on the other hand, portray the true Brazil, for many spectators. Brazil is now being increasingly taken as a country whose leadership has emphasized the benefits of developing the Amazon while dismissing environmental concerns from the start.
Furthermore, these deforestation figures were dated October 27th, indicating that they were being held back until after COP26.
How effective are COP26 promises? Read here.