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Brazil: From being the Lung of the Planet to a Global Environmental Concern

Rio Guaporé in the Amazon

According to information from Greenpeace, in the 90s, the Amazon rainforest absorbed 2,000 million tons of CO2, but in 2021 the region has started to emit more CO2 than it is capable of absorbing. Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: Brasil: de pulmón del mundo a preocupación ambiental mundial

The deforestation figures for the Brazilian Amazon cause great unease among experts as they are the highest in 15 years. Brazil has become a global environmental concern.

Brazil is a country with enormous natural wealth, about 20% of the world's biodiversity is found there, which makes it the most biodiverse country in the world. However, today the situation is paradoxical, because according to information from Greenpeace, in the 90s, the Amazon rainforest absorbed 2,000 million tons of CO2, but in 2021 the region has started to emit more CO2 than it is capable of absorbing.

The National Institute for Space Research of Brazil (INPE) published at the end of November a report on deforestation in Brazil that indicates that from August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021, 13,235 km2 have been deforested, representing an increase in 21.97% compared to the previous year, and is equal to 7.5 times the size of Bogotá. These figures are worrying and unacceptable given the global challenges in the fight against climate change.

The report is dated October 27. However, the Bolsonaro government did not want to publish it before so that it would not coincide with COP 26. Despite the fact that at that meeting one of the main agreements reached by the countries was to stop and reverse deforestation by 2030, it seems that these promises are a dead letter if the figures from the INPE report and Bolsonaro's actions are analyzed. during the years of his presidency.

Read also: Opinion: False Efforts to Preserve Natural Resources

In the last decade, Brazil has faced significant environmental challenges: uncontrolled mining, accelerating deforestation, oil spills and severe forest fires. The South American giant is today at a crossroads that it must solve quickly, because, despite being key to the world's environmental future, it is being consumed in an uncontrolled and accelerated way.

In fact, a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD (which evaluates Brazil's progress in the implementation of environmental policies) indicates that the challenge for the country is to make the established environmental regulations and regulations a reality, because despite if there are regulations, they are not being complied with. "It is a matter of ensuring sufficient financial and human resources, improving coordination between levels of government and ensuring effective implementation of policies, including ensuring compliance, at the subnational level."

Livestock, soybean cultivation and industrial use of lumber are the main causes responsible for the accelerated exploitation of the forest. The question that arises is: how to tackle this situation to stop deforestation and try to mitigate the damages? The truth is that without political will, real changes will be very difficult to achieve.

However, various organizations and environmental groups urge government entities and civil society to make changes and pressure the Bolsonaro government to meet environmental protection needs. For their part, people can commit to reducing (or eliminating) their meat consumption and making more conscious purchases.

However, the greatest power will be held by Brazilians at the polls to elect their new president next year, as it has been shown that the environment does not play an important role in Bolsonaro's agenda. In this regard, Cristiane Mazzetti, Greenpeace's environmental manager, assured that the way in which Bolsonaro has managed his country's resources is part of a retrograde vision of development that “does not match the efforts needed to deal with climate and climate crises. biodiversity ".

However, the biggest changes must be made by large organizations and institutions. For example, Greenpeace calls on the European Union to strictly comply with the EUTR regulation, which prevents Europe from entering lumber from forest destruction. It also requires that a law be passed so that raw materials produced by deforestation cannot be imported.

On the other hand, the Observatorio do Clima organization has made various complaints about the mismanagement of environmental policies that have been made in the country in recent years. In fact, their 2019 report was titled "The worst is yet to come." At the beginning of this year, the observatory announced that the 2021 budget would be the worst in the last decade for the environment and this November 23 denounced that a project is being enlisted in congress that aims to change the rules for granting licenses. environmental

The truth is that the Bolsonaro government has not only been a threat to the environment but also to human rights. Amnesty International published a report this year entitled 1,000 Days Without Rights. The violations of the Bolsonaro government in which it indicates 32 situations of non-compliance with rights, within which 4 are framed in attacks against indigenous communities and the Amazon.