Brazil says Amazon deforestation is worst since 2008

Pablo Tucker
November 22, 2019

According to the Reuters report, the Brazilian government has frequently sought to throw doubt on statistics which indicate that deforestation was on the rise - even when it was the country's own agencies that were supplying the data.

The charity's comments followed new figures released by the Brazilian Federal Government, which showed deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon had reached 9.762kmbetween August 2019 and July 2019 - up 29.5% compared with the previous 12-month period.

It was the worst level of deforestation since 2008, heaping further pressure on the environmental policy of Bolsonaro who favors developing the Amazon region economically.

Salles says illegal mining, logging and land-grabbing cause most deforestation.

The Brazilian space research agency will meet Wednesday to discuss strategies to combat deforestation in the Amazon. The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world and is considered key in the fight against climate change due to the amounts of Carbon dioxide it absorbs.

Environmentalists and nongovernmental organizations placed the blame squarely on the government, saying that Bolsonaro's strong pro-development rhetoric and policies to weaken environmental enforcement are behind the rise in illegal activity.

Concern about the Amazon heightened after President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January.

"His administration is trashing practically all the work that has been done in recent decades to protect the environment and end deforestation", said Cristiane Mazzetti, Greenpeace Brazil's Amazon Campaigner.

The report is preliminary, and its data will be confirmed next year.

The latest data is actually 42% higher than what was previously reported. In a high-profile dispute, then-INPE chief Ricardo Galvao stood by the data and called Bolsonaro "a joke of a 14-year-old boy that is not suitable for a president of Brazil".

It also does not account for destruction after July. One of the biggest drivers of deforestation in the region is also due to the high price of beef in Brazil, which encourages land grabbing for cattle ranching.

"The question that remains", said Carlos Rittl, the Climate Observatory's executive secretary, "is how long Brazil's trading partners will trust the promises of sustainability and compliance with the Paris Agreement, as forests fall, indigenous leaders are killed and environmental laws are shattered".

Other reports by iNewsToday