After ongoing criticism, the Brazilian government has committed to reducing deforestation and forest fires in the Amazon rainforest to an „acceptable minimum“. Vice President and Head of the National Council for the Amazon, Hamilton Mourao, said on Wednesday (local time) that „zero deforestation and economic development are not mutually exclusive.“ Mourao emphasized the government’s “firm commitment” to the “conservation and development” of the Amazon rainforest.
Brazil is home to around 60 percent of the world’s tropical rainforest. Its deforestation has recently increased rapidly. In the first half of the year, 25 percent more forest was destroyed than in the same period last year. 3,069 square kilometers were affected, an area larger than the Saarland.
Criticism of Bolsonaro
Environmentalists have long warned that 2020 could be the most destructive year for the world’s largest rainforest. They directly blame the policies of right-wing populist leader Jair Bolsonaro. For example, they accuse him of promoting illegal deforestation if he repeatedly demands the legalization of agriculture and mining in protected areas.
At the end of June, international investment funds from Europe, Asia and Latin America, which together manage around four billion dollars (around 3.5 billion euros), would have made further investments in Brazil dependent on „results“ in the fight against deforestation.
Bolsonaro doubts human responsibility for the climate crisis. The head of state has already drastically cut the financial and human resources for environmental protection.