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Why This Matters: The Amazon Environmental Research Institute estimates that by the end of 2020, the Amazon will have been depleted by 5,405 square miles, the highest amount of deforestation in a single year since 2006.
Deforestation has surged in the Amazon since Bolsonaro assumed office in January of 2019 due to his weakening of environmental safeguards and the ways in which he’s emboldened loggers, miners, and ranchers. The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth, it’s also crucial to the fight against global climate change.
The Bolsonaro Effect: While there’s been a long history of logging in the Amazon, as Al Jazeera explained, destruction in 2020 continues to be far higher than in the years before Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro has weakened environmental enforcement and called for more farming and mining in the Amazon to lift the region out of poverty, which environmental advocates say is emboldening Brazilians to cut down the forest.
The International Community Steps In: While Donald Trump praised Bolsonaro’s handling of the Amazon, President-elect Joe Biden could step in to pressure Brazil into greater conservation efforts. In the first presidential debate, Biden said that the world should give Brazil $20 billion dollars to stop Amazon deforestation, and punish the country economically for refusing to act. Biden has signaled that he plans to make good on that promise, in that his climate plan would “impose carbon adjustment fees or quotas on carbon-intensive goods from countries that are failing to meet their climate and environmental obligations.”
Bolsonaro’s reaction to Biden’s presidential win? He issued a cryptic comment at an event: “We saw recently a great candidate to head of state say that if I don’t put out the fires in the Amazon, he will put up commercial barriers against Brazil. How do we deal with that? Diplomacy alone is not enough. When words fail, one has to have gunpowder.”
Humans need forests for our survival, from the air we breathe to the wood we use. These ecosystems also provide livelihoods for people, offer watershed protection, prevent soil erosion, and mitigate climate change. Unfortunately, a new report from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) titled “Deforestation Fronts: Drivers and Responses in a Changing World” reveals that more […]
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s most recent effort to reduce the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has failed, The Washington Post reports. Bolsonaro’s plan to deploy military troops and take illegal mining operations by surprise ultimately failed when miners got wind of it.
Why This Matters: The health of the Amazon rainforest is crucial in the fight against climate change.
This year will be remembered for literally turning the sky red — wildfires in California were so severe that they cast a red pall across large areas of the state — and the photos were the most vivid sign yet that climate change is not some future apocalypse, but is already upon us.
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