After record deforestation, Brazil promises to protect the Amazon

amazon deforestation pledge
From the left: Environment Minister Joaquim Leite, Foreign Affairs Minister Carlos França, and Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina. Photo: Bernardo Spinelli/MRE

Unless there is a change in how environmental issues are treated by the Brazilian government, the recent pledges signed by the country during the UN climate summit (COP26) might see the same disappointing fate as other agreements regarding deforestation in the Amazon. Per think tank Chain Reaction Research, recent record-setting deforestation numbers are a direct reflection of the weakening of Brazil’s environmental legal framework promoted by President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration.

Moreover, according to the think tank, the new alarming deforestation data disclosed by the National Institute of Space Research last week also casts doubts on the two recent pledges signed by Brazil during the summit in Glasgow. The first one is to reduce global reductions for methane by 30 percent by 2030 and the second is to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by the same year.

These data on deforestation used to be released before or at most during the summit to provide greater transparency about Brazil’s actions in regards to environmental issues. This year, the data analysis was also completed on time, however, the Brazilian press believes that its disclosure was deliberately delayed by the government to prevent Brazil from suffering criticism during COP26.

On Monday, Environment Minister Joaquim Leite, together with Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina and Chancellor Carlos França, talked about Brazil’s participation in COP26, also addressing the alarming data on deforestation.

“Given the unacceptable deforestation figures announced last week, we are going to act decisively. We will have more resources and more men. We will certainly be much more forceful in eliminating illegal deforestation in the Amazon,” said Mr. Leite.

The minister also announced that the “Guardians of the Biome” operation, which is already working to fight fires and illegal deforestation, will also be expanded “with more men and more resources.” Nevertheless, during the press conference, it was not revealed the additional amounts that will be invested in this operation, which also includes the participation of the Justice Ministry.