Biden favors carrot to stick over Brazilian deforestation

Biden carrot stick Brazilian deforestation
U.S. President Joe Biden boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House. Photo: Erin Scott/White House

During Earth Day on Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden said his country “should be paying Brazilians not to cut down their forest.”

Speaking in Seattle, Mr. Biden repeated an argument often used by Brazilian governments, calling out developed nations on their perceived hypocrisy regarding deforestation. “We got to cut our [forests] down, we got the benefit of it,” Mr. Biden said.  

“Because we’ve got these third-world countries — not third world, some are — in Africa and South America — we got to — the industrial countries have to help.”

During the 2020 campaign, Mr. Biden promised to recommit the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement and leverage the international community to urge reluctant countries to get on board with the target of curbing climate change. Some even believed that he could declare Brazil a “climate outlaw” after ta office — which, of course, has never materialized.

Over the past decade, Brazil has seen deforestation rates climb up — a trend that has gotten to extreme levels since President Jair Bolsonaro rose to power. His administration has loosened regulations and curbed enforcement of environmental laws. Brazil is on track to reach a new Amazon deforestation record in 2022, according to a report released by NGO Imazon last month.